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Just when you thought it was safe: Foreclosures spike

By Les Christie, staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The housing market has seen some positive signs recently, such as stabilizing home prices and increased sales, but foreclosures continue to haunt the market.

In the first three months of 2010 foreclosure filings rose 7%, to more than 930,000, compared with the previous quarter, according to the online foreclosure marketing firm RealtyTrac. That is a 16% jump over the first three months of 2009.

Foreclosures started off the first quarter with modest gains but spiked in March to a record 367,000 filings. Plus, nearly 258,000 of those filings were for bank repossessions, the highest quarterly total RealtyTrac has ever reported.

"It looks like the log jam is finally breaking up," said Rick Sharga, a RealtyTrac spokesman. "A lot of foreclosures had come into the process and then just stopped."

State by state

Nevada continued to dominate the foreclosure rankings, with one in ever 33 homes receding a filing during the quarter. This is the state's 13th consecutive quarters in the top spot.

Arizona had one for every 49 units, Florida one for every 57 and California one for every 62. The Golden State, by far the nation's most populous, had a total of more than 216,000 filings, more than any other state and 23% of the nation's total foreclosure activity.

Other poor performers included Utah, where the foreclosure rate jumped 75%, Michigan and Georgia.

The least affected states included Vermont (one in 8,932), West Virginia (one in 4,010) and North Dakota (one in 2,161). To top of page

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