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FORECLOSURE ACTIVITY UP CALIFORNIA SEES 27 PERCENT INCREASE, TEXAS 61 PERCENT.

Byline: Gregory J. Wilcox Staff Writer

Residential foreclosure activity across the nation spiked to its highest level of 2005 during December, an indication that rising interest rates are making an impact, an industry tracker said Thursday.

Last month the owners of 81,290 properties nationwide entered some stage of foreclosure, up 13.5 percent from November, said Irvine-based RealtyTrac.

That's one new incident for every 1,422 U.S. households, the highest foreclosure rate reported last year, the company said.

Comparable numbers for a year ago were not available.

States showing the most distress last month were Texas, Ohio, Indiana, Nevada and Utah, the company said.

December's rate just outpaced October's so the year finished on a down note.

``These rising numbers to finish off the year may indicate that economic factors such as higher interest rates are making it harder for some homeowners to stay current on their mortgage payments,'' James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said in a statement. He was traveling and could not be reached for comment.

Foreclosure activity jumped 61 percent in Texas. There, 12,753 properties entered some stage of foreclosure, one for every 631 households and the most for any state.

Texas accounted for more than 15 percent of the nation's new foreclosures, the company said.

California reported 7,674 properties entering some stage of foreclosure, a 27 percent increase and the third most new foreclosures reported by any state in December.

But with new one foreclosure for every 1,592 households, the state's foreclosure rate remained below the national average.

The company tracks properties in all phases of foreclosure.

With prices at record levels in many areas and interest rates expected to move up, foreclosure activity will likely increase this year, said John Karevoll, an analyst for DataQuick Information Systems.

But it's not a serious problem because the activity is building off near record low levels, he said.

``The numbers we expect this year indicate more of a normal market,'' he said.

Gregory J. Wilcox, (818) 713-3743

greg.wilcox(at)dailynews.com
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 13, 2006
Words:342
Previous Article:EARLY RISERS.
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