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2008 Begins with More Foreclosures

Foreclosure activity continued its upward trend in January, rising 8 percent from the previous month and climbing 57 percent from January 2007, according to RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosed properties. Foreclosure filings, which include default notices, auction sales notices and bank repossessions, were reported on 233,001 properties in January. It is the sixth straight month that foreclosures totaled more than 200,000. Nevada, California and Florida had the top foreclosure rates for the month.

James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac’s chief executive officer, said the 8 percent monthly increase isn’t as steep as the 19 percent increase that occurred in January 2007, and several key states actually had fewer foreclosures than the previous month. “It could be that some of the efforts on the part of lenders and the government — both at the state and federal level — are beginning to take effect,” Saccacio said. “The big question is whether those efforts are truly helping homeowners avoid foreclosure in the long term or if they are just temporarily forestalling the inevitable for many beleaguered borrowers.”

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