Foreclosure-related filings fell 10 percent from December to January, as foreclosure prevention efforts by lenders and the government appeared to be taking hold, data aggregator RealtyTrac said today.

Completed foreclosure sales were down 15 percent from the month before, and overall foreclosure-related filings in Florida fell 20 percent.

"The extensive foreclosure efforts on the part of lenders and government agencies appear to have impacted the January numbers," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

Foreclosure-related filings fell 10 percent from December to January, as foreclosure prevention efforts by lenders and the government appeared to be taking hold, data aggregator RealtyTrac said today.

Completed foreclosure sales were down 15 percent from the month before, and overall foreclosure-related filings in Florida fell 20 percent.

"The extensive foreclosure efforts on the part of lenders and government agencies appear to have impacted the January numbers," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

Saccacio said moratoriums on foreclosure sales by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that were extended through the end of January, and with Florida’s voluntary 45-day freeze on foreclosure actions, seemed to have had an effect.

Looking back one year, however, the 274,399 homes hit with some type of foreclosure filing during January — including a default notice, auction sale notice, or bank repossession — represented an 18 percent increase from 2008.

Despite a 4 percent decrease from December, Nevada continued to have the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, with one in every 76 housing units receiving a foreclosure-related filing, or about six times the national average of one in 466 U.S. homes.

California, Arizona, Florida, Oregon, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Idaho and Ohio rounded out the 10 states with the highest rate of foreclosure-related filings.

California cities accounted for six of the top 10 metro foreclosure rates in January among metro areas with a population of 200,000 or more. Merced, Calif., posted the top metro foreclosure rate, with one in 59 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the month.

Other California metro areas with foreclosure rates among the top 10 were Riverside-San Bernardino (one in 81 homes), Modesto (one in 84 homes), Stockton (one in 86 homes), Vallejo-Fairfield (one in 100 homes), and Bakersfield (one in 120 homes).

Nevada and Florida each had two metro areas on the top 10 list.

The Las Vegas-Paradise metro area posted the second-highest metro foreclosure rate in the nation in January, with one in every 63 housing units subjected to a foreclosure-related filing, RealtyTrac said. The Reno-Sparks metro area posted the 10th-highest metro foreclosure rate, with one in every 128 housing units receiving a foreclosure-related filing.

In Florida, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers region was third on the top 10 metro list, with one in every 80 housing units receiving a foreclosure-related filing. Port St. Lucie was ninth on the list with one in every 123 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.

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