Foreclosures in Biggest Metro Areas Take Massive Tumble


NEW YORK ( — A majority of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. got good news recently on the mortgage front as foreclosures dropped in the third quarter.

Home seizure activity slumped on an annual basis in 62% of the nation’s 212 largest population centers during the period, according to the latest data from the Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report by the housing market firm RealtyTrac. A similar amount – 63% – saw this type of issue fall on a monthly basis as well./p>

On a smaller level, improvements were actually down slightly from the national average, the report said. Just 60% of the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas saw similar declines in foreclosure activity, with San Francisco’s decline of 36% leading the way, ahead of Detroit’s 31% and Los Angeles’ 29%. Phoenix, Ariz., and San Diego, at 27% and 26%, rounded out the top five.

Meanwhile, there were significant upticks in activity in a number of other major U.S. cities, led by New York, the report said. There, foreclosure activity surged 69% and the next-closest increase – Tampa, Fla.’s 43% – was considerably lower. Philadelphia and Chicago saw increases of 34%, while Seattle’s stood at 20%.

Nonetheless, experts were encouraged by the overall improvement seen across the country, the report said.

“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 Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “In fact foreclosure activity in September 2012 was below September 2007 levels in 58% of the metro markets we track.”

Stockton, Calif., had the highest foreclosure rate in the country despite a 21% improvement on an annual basis, the report said. In that city alone, one in every 67 houses was in some stage of foreclosure, more than three times the national rate. But these problems are still massive in California, which is home to seven of the 20 highest foreclosure rates in the nation. On the other hand, all seven, such as Stockton, also saw those rates decline year-over-year.

Many government initiatives have been enacted to help consumers avoid foreclosure where possible, and in recent months, experts noted that more have been successful in doing so.

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