Flood of foreclosures expected in Md.

Fewer homes are in foreclosure in the Washington, D.C. area, according to a new RealtyTrac report. (AP)

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – There’s mixed news on the foreclosure front. While foreclosure filings nationwide declined in the first quarter of 2012, more homes are entering the foreclosure process.

Maryland is among the states expected to see a flood of foreclosure activity.

Across the nation, RealtyTrac says the number of foreclosure filings in the first quarter of 2012 was the lowest monthly total since July 2007. Foreclosure filings include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

At the same time, the tracking group finds the number of homes nationwide that received first-time foreclosure notices went up for the third month in a row.

The RealtyTrac report said in March, Maryland saw a 53 percent increase in the number of foreclosure starts, the first sign a foreclosure is imminent. This follows a 157 percent jump in foreclosure starts from January to February of this year.

Since foreclosures can take up to two years to end up on the housing market as they wind their way through the courts, Maryland could see a flood of foreclosures in the next year or two, further weakening the market.

Just since the last quarter of 2011, Maryland has seen a nearly 19 percent increase in the number of foreclosures.

RealtyTrac says Riverdale, Md. saw the highest increase in quarterly home sale prices, up 20 percent. Gambrills, Md. saw the greatest drop in prices, 32 percent.

In Virginia, it’s a much different picture. While foreclosure starts keep rising in Maryland, they decreased in Virginia by 19 percent. After seeing a slight bump in the number of foreclosures in January and February, the Virginia numbers are back down. In March, foreclosures dipped by more than 16 percent month over month and down nearly 43 percent from a year ago.

All indications point to a strengthening housing market in Virginia with fewer foreclosures. Nokesville, Va. saw a 25 percent increase in the average quarterly sales price, while Lovettsville, Va. saw the biggest decline at 20 percent.

It’s difficult to paint a fair picture of D.C. since there are much fewer foreclosures with wide fluctuations in percentages. In March, D.C reported just 41 foreclosures. That’s an increase of 70 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011 but a decrease of 35 percent from a year ago.

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