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Foreclosure filings jump 17% in December

Some improvement seen in year's last quarter

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Foreclosure-related filings during the last three months of 2008 were down 4 percent from the previous quarter, despite a 17 percent month-over-month bump in filings during December, data aggregator RealtyTrac said today.RealtyTrac's year-end Foreclosure Market Report showed an 81 percent increase in the number of properties subjected to foreclosure-related filings in all of 2008 from the year before, to 2.3 million.Although not all of those homes that enter the foreclosure process are repossessed by banks, RealtyTrac said one in 54 U.S. homes was subject to at least one foreclosure-related filing during the year, including a default notice, auction sale notice or bank repossession.RealtyTrac Chief Executive Officer James Saccacio said that the big jump in foreclosure-related filings in December came as a surprise, given that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac suspended foreclosure sales over the holidays and that lenders and loan servicers have launched new streamlined loan modification progr...