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Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 07/12/2012

Foreclosure data for Washington metro area are mixed

RealtyTrac released its midyear Foreclosure Market Report on Thursday, and the data for the Washington metro area are mixed.

The company, which keeps track of foreclosures throughout the country, found 9,219 properties with foreclosure filings in the region for the first six months of this year. That’s one out of every 240 housing units, a foreclosure rate that ranks 146th nationally.  

It also marks a decrease of less than 1 percent from the previous six months and a decrease of nearly 27 percent from the first half of 2011.

The District had 78 properties with filings from January to June, down nearly 24 percent from the final six months of 2011 and down nearly 48 percent from the first half of 2011. 
A foreclosed house with sale pending sign. There were 9,219 properties with foreclosure filings in the Washington metro area from January to June. (Don Ryan - Associated Press)

Maryland had 8,162 properties with filings from January to June, up nearly 27 percent from the final six months of 2011 and down nearly 8 percent from the first half of 2011.

Virginia had 14,943 properties with filings from January to June, down nearly 2 percent from the final six months of 2011 and down nearly 24 percent from the first half of 2011. [Note: The Washington metro area does not include all of Virginia, which is why the number of filings in Virginia is greater than the number for the Washington metro area.]  

“We’re seeing a lot of volatility in the foreclosure numbers in general, just because of all the scrutiny on foreclosures over the last year and a half, as well as the intervention on the part of both local, state and federal governments, especially in Maryland,” RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist said. “There’s been a lot of intervention [in Maryland] that’s slowed down the process there.”  

Prince George’s County leads the area in foreclosure filings. There were 2,244 filings from January to June, or one out of every 146 housing units in the county.

Fairfax County was next at 1,600 filings, or one out of every 255 units. Prince William County was third at 1,335 filings, or one out of every 103 units.  

Falls Church had the fewest, 13 filings, or one out of every 422 units.  

The District had the fewest by percentage of housing units, one out of every 3,804 units.

Since the “Saving D.C. Homes from Foreclosure Amendment Act of 2010” was passed by the D.C. Council two years ago, foreclosures in the District have nearly ground to a halt. In the 10 months prior to passage of act, there were an average of 184 new foreclosure auctions scheduled per month. Since November 2010, that average has fallen to 4.8 new foreclosure auctions scheduled per month. In seven of the past nine months, no auctions have been scheduled.

“It’s interesting to see how it will play out because we’ve been told that lenders basically can’t really foreclose,” Blomquist said. “It’s very, very tough to foreclose because of that mediation. . . . That’s just clogging up the whole process and apparently there are many properties in limbo.”

Blomquist says the increase in foreclosure activity should benefit the market in the long run because it will help clear the shadow inventory — the number of homes that are in foreclosure or likely to end up in foreclosure — and that should remove the uncertainty from the minds of buyers.

“We’ve seen, especially in 2011, foreclosure numbers were down,” Blomquist said. “But now we’re seeing evidence that there’s this resurgence and that’s going to create some more instability in home prices and home values going forward.”  

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By  |  12:20 PM ET, 07/12/2012

 
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