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Default Notices Down 27%, But REO Sets New Record

Even with a substantial drop in default notices in April, real estate-owned hit a record monthly high with a total of 92,432 properties repossessed by lenders, up 1% from March and up 45% from April 2009, according to RealtyTrac.

The foreclosure tracking website, based in Irvine, Calif., said a total of 103,762 properties received default notices in April, a decrease of 12% from March and down 27% from a year ago.

"We expect a similar pattern to continue for most of this year with the overall numbers staying at a high level and ripples of activity hitting the various stages of the foreclosure process as lenders systematically work through the backlog of distressed properties," said CEO James Saccacio.

In total, foreclosure filings were reported on 333,837 properties in April, a 9% decrease from March and down 2% from April 2009. Of this, foreclosure auctions were scheduled on 137,643 properties, a decrease of 13% from March.

Nevada posted the nation's highest state foreclosure rate for the 40th straight month. A 57% monthly increase in REO activity pushed the state's overall foreclosure activity up 10% from March. Arizona saw a decrease of 15% from the previous month, but the state's foreclosure rate moved from third highest in March to second highest in April thanks to an even bigger decrease in California. The state reported 69,725 properties with a foreclosure filing, although that total was down 25% from March and 28% a year ago.

Florida activity was down 18% from the previous month and down 25% from April 2009, but still documented the nation's second highest state foreclosure activity total, with 48,384 properties receiving a filing during the month.

An 8% month-over-month increase in foreclosure activity boosted Michigan's total to 19,173, up 77% from April 2009.

Illinois foreclosure activity increased nearly 33% from March with 18,870 properties receiving some type of filing.

Other states with foreclosure activity among the nation's 10 highest were Arizona (16,088), Georgia (13,963), Texas (13,133), Ohio (11,936) and Virginia (7,065).

Metro areas in the "sand states" of Nevada, Florida, California and Arizona continued to account for all top 10 foreclosure rates with a population of 200,000 or more, but foreclosure activity decreased on a year-over-year basis in nine of those top 10 metros.

Reno-Sparks, Nev., was the only metro area in the top 10 to report increasing foreclosure activity on an annual basis. A total of 1,614 properties received filings, up 16% from April 2009.

Las Vegas continued to document the highest metro foreclosure rate, with one in every 60 housing units receiving a filing, despite a 3% decrease in activity from a year ago.

Modesto, Calif., witnessed a decrease of 32% from April 2009, but still posted the nation's second highest foreclosure rate, with one in every 101 housing units receiving a filing during the month. Other California cities in the top 10 were Merced at No. 3 (one in every 104 housing units), Stockton at No. 5 (one in 108), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at No. 6 (one in 110), Vallejo-Fairfield at No. 8 (one in 117) and Bakersfield at No. 9 (one in 120).

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