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Foreclosures rose steadily in 2005.

The number of homes entering the foreclosure process steadily increased on a national basis throughout 2005--with Florida, Colorado and Utah posting the highest foreclosure rates, according to Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac[TM].

RealtyTrac's 2005 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report showed that 846,982 properties nationwide entered some stage of foreclosure last year, with a 25 percent increase in the number of foreclosures from the first quarter through the fourth quarter of 2005.

"Overall U.S. foreclosure numbers climbed steadily over the course of the year, with more new foreclosures reported in every quarter," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. "This trend appears to be moving the real estate foreclosure market back to its historic levels."

However, Saccacio noted that even with nearly 850,000 properties entering some stage of foreclosure in 2005, it represented less than 1 percent of all U.S. households, and the increase in foreclosures from the third quarter to the fourth quarter was just below 5 percent.

Despite a 29 percent decrease in new foreclosures from the first quarter to the fourth quarter, Florida posted the nation's highest foreclosure rate and accounted for more than 14 percent of the nation's new foreclosures in 2005. The state reported 121,843 properties in some stage of foreclosure--1.67 percent of the state's homeowners, according to RealtyTrac.

In Colorado, new foreclosures decreased 4 percent through 2005, but the state's annual foreclosure rate ranked the second highest nationwide due to consistently high foreclosure numbers through the year. A total of 29,630 Colorado properties entered foreclosure in 2005--1.62 percent of the state's households.

In Utah, 1.5 percent of homeowners entered foreclosure proceedings in 2005--the nation's third-highest rate. The state reported 11,536 properties entering some stage of foreclosure during the year, but new foreclosures dropped 27 percent from the first quarter to the fourth quarter, said RealtyTrac.

Rounding out the top-10 list of states with the highest foreclosures: Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee, which all documented annual foreclosure rates of at least 1 percent of total households and reported new foreclosures increasing from the first quarter to the fourth quarter.

"Over the past few years we've seen historically low mortgage rates, consistently escalating home prices and steady, strong employment. This has translated into relatively low levels of foreclosure properties--particularly bank-owned properties," said Saccacio. "With interest rates rising and an apparent slowdown of property valuations in most markets, we'll be watching closely to see if there's a material effect on the number of foreclosures in 2006."
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Title Annotation:report
Publication:Mortgage Banking
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2006
Words:423
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