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Foreclosures down in Utah metro areas

Fewer homes in default in much of the nation

SALT LAKE CITY — The number of homes in default in the state's three largest metropolitan areas fell significantly during the third quarter of 2012.

RealtyTrac Wednesday released its third quarter report, which shows foreclosure activity decreased from a year ago in 131 out of the nation's 212 metropolitan areas with a population of at least 200,000 people. Foreclosure activity for the period decreased from the previous quarter in 134 of the metro areas tracked in the report.

In Utah, the Salt Lake City metro area — ranked 87th overall — saw a 41 percent drop in foreclosures from the previous quarter and 53 percent year over year registering one foreclosure filing for every 276 households. The national average rate was one foreclosure filing for every 248 households.

Foreclosure filings include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, the report stated.

The Provo-Orem area, ranked 131st, reflecting a foreclosure rate of 1 in 410 households, saw its foreclosure rate decrease nearly 51 percent from the last quarter and 69 percent from the third quarter of last year.

The Ogden-Clearfield metro area, which ranked 162 on the foreclosure list for its rate of 1 in 633 homes in foreclosure, reflects a decline of nearly 47 percent for the quarter and more than 72 percent year over year.

"Two-thirds of the nation's largest metros posted decreases in foreclosure activity in the third quarter, indicating that most of the nation's housing markets are past the worst of the foreclosure problem" said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist. "In fact, foreclosure activity in September 2012 was below September 2007 levels in 58 percent of the metro markets we track."

Foreclosure activity decreased annually in 12 of the nation's 20 largest metro areas, led by San Francisco, down 36 percent; Detroit, down 31 percent; Los Angeles, down 29 percent; Phoenix, down 27 percent; and San Diego, which fell 26 percent.

The biggest annual increases in foreclosure activity among the nation's 20 largest metro areas were in New York, up 69 percent; Tampa, 43 percent; Philadelphia, 34 percent, Chicago, 34 percent and Seattle, which rose 20 percent.

"Still, rebounding foreclosure activity in some markets remains a threat to home price stability and growth in those markets," Blomquist continued. "The rebounding foreclosure activity tends to be in markets where the foreclosure process slowed down most dramatically in the last two years, resulting in a buildup of foreclosures in limbo that lenders are finally working through this year.

Despite a 21 percent annual decline in foreclosure activity, Stockton, Calif., recorded the nation's highest metro foreclosure rate for the third quarter with one in every 67 housing units registering a foreclosure filing, more than three times the national average.

California cities accounted for the seven highest metro foreclosure rates in the nation during the period, although foreclosure activity decreased from a year ago in all seven metros.

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