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RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com), the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today released its Year-End 2009 Foreclosure Market Report™, which shows a total of 3,957,643 foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 2,824,674 U.S. properties in 2009, a 21 percent increase in total properties from 2008 and a 120 percent increase in total properties from 2007. The report also shows that 2.21 percent of all U.S. housing units (one in 45) received at least one foreclosure filing during the year, up from 1.84 percent in 2008, 1.03 percent in 2007 and 0.58 percent in 2006.
Foreclosure filings were reported on 349,519 U.S. properties in December, a 14 percent jump from the previous month and a 15 percent increase from December 2008 — when a similar monthly jump in foreclosure activity occurred. Despite the increase in December, foreclosure activity in the fourth quarter decreased 7 percent from the third quarter, although it was still up 18 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008.
“As bad as the 2009 numbers are, they probably would have been worse if not for legislative and industry-related delays in processing delinquent loans,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “After peaking in July with over 361,000 homes receiving a foreclosure notice, we saw four straight monthly decreases driven primarily by short-term factors: trial loan modifications, state legislation extending the foreclosure process and an overwhelming volume of inventory clogging the foreclosure pipeline.
“Despite all the delays, foreclosure activity still hit a record high for our report in 2009, capped off by a substantial increase in December,” Saccacio continued. “In the long term a massive supply of delinquent loans continues to loom over the housing market, and many of those delinquencies will end up in the foreclosure process in 2010 and beyond as lenders gradually work their way through the backlog.”