A newly released report shows Utah's foreclosure filings rose slightly last month but remained below much of the rest of the nation.
The January 2008 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report by market analysis firm RealtyTrac indicates the Beehive State had 4.99 percent more filings in January 2008 than in January 2007.
Additionally, compared to December 2007, Utah saw a 16.49 percent increase in the number of filings in January of this year.
The report shows national foreclosure activity default notices, auction sales notices and bank repossessions were reported on 233,001 properties during January, an 8 percent hike from the previous month and an increase of almost 57 percent from January 2007.
"The 8 percent monthly increase in January is not as precipitous as the 19 percent spike we saw in January of 2007, and several key states actually experienced decreasing foreclosure activity from the previous month," RealtyTrac's chief executive officer, James J. Saccacio, said in a prepared statement.
Nationally, Nevada continued to experience the highest foreclosure rate among all the 50 states and had 6,087 properties entering some form of filing during the month of January. The total was a 45 percent decline from the previous month but a 95 percent jump from January 2007.
California ranked second in January foreclosure rates, followed by Florida, Arizona and Colorado.
"Nationally, we're probably going to see the high foreclosure levels through the end of the year," said Daren Blomquist, marketing and communications manager. "The states that are really driving this national increase still have some pain to work through."
Blomquist said states like Florida, California, and Nevada had increasing home prices that got "out of reach" for the average homebuyer, which has resulted in the current housing crisis.
He noted much of the problem came from extremely liberal lending practices that allowed prospective homebuyers to borrow more than they could afford an issue he said has now been addressed.
"Lending standards have tightened up so people can't take out those type of loans anymore," said Blomquist. "It's getting back to a more realistic level of what people can truly afford to buy based on their income."
Though the market is in the midst of correction, according to Blomquist, a number of states are still reeling from the burst of the housing bubble.
California reported the most January foreclosure filings of any state, with a total of 57,158 properties. The Golden State's foreclosure activity increased 7 percent from the previous month and jumped 120 percent from January 2007.
Florida's total of 30,178 properties with at least one foreclosure filing was the nation's second-highest total, with the state's foreclosure activity up nearly 158 percent from January 2007.
The third-highest January total was in Texas, where foreclosure filings increased 20 percent from December to 14,698 properties. However, that state's monthly foreclosure rate was below the national average."Areas like Utah didn't really get caught up in the frenzy of skyrocketing home prices," he said. "In the long term, they're faring better because they've had slow, steady appreciation that has kept them from experiencing the harsh correction felt by much of the housing market."
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