WASHINGTON - There is more proof that the foreclosure boom has busted, however the problem has not gone away in big cities or in Maryland.
According to RealtyTrac, the number of foreclosures nationwide decreased 3 percent in 2012 compared to 2011.
However, RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomguist says more than half of large cities -- 57 percent -- saw an increase in foreclosure activity, and some of the increases were significant.
In 2012, foreclosure activity increased in eight of the 20 largest metro areas, led by Tampa, Miami, Baltimore, Chicago and New York. Washington D.C. was among the cities that saw a decrease.
RealtyTrac says the data shows consistently that foreclosures stall in judicial states, where foreclosures have to go through the courts, and decrease in non- judicial states.
He says the health of the housing market isn't driving the number of foreclosures. The process used to foreclose is.
It's a mixed bag in the D.C. region, in part because of the different process used to finalize a foreclosure.
Blomquist says when they combined data in the entire region, including D.C., Maryland and Virginia, foreclosure activity was down by 11 percent in 2012 from 2011. Foreclosure activity decreased a whopping 61 percent when comparing 2012 to 2010.
"2010 in most markets was the peak of this foreclosure crisis," Blomquist says, and that includes our area. He says 85 percent of metro areas are seeing fewer foreclosures since the 2010 peak.
However, it's a much different picture when comparing Maryland and Virginia.
Virginia continues to see fewer foreclosures each year. Blomquist says Virginia is among the fastest when it comes to processing foreclosures. Generally in Northern Virginia, foreclosure activity was down around 20 percent in 2012.
Many counties in Maryland, a judicial state, continue to see an increasing number of foreclosures.
Blomquist says Calvert County saw a 58 percent increase in foreclosure activity in 2012. Charles County saw a 38 percent increase and Montgomery saw an 18 percent increase.
Prince George's County was among the counties that saw a decrease in foreclosures.
However, Blomquist says foreclosures have yet to move through the region because of ongoing legal and community efforts to stop them. He anticipates a gradual increase in Prince George's County foreclosures this year and not the "massive wave of foreclosures" that had been expected.
Blomquist calls this "the last gasp of the foreclosure crisis."
Less than 1 percent of all the homes on the market in 2012 were foreclosures in the Washington area.
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