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Foreclosure Rates In Hard-Hit Markets Falling

— New figures out Thursday show foreclosure rates in some of California’s hardest-hit markets have been falling.

Modesto still has the highest foreclosure rate in the state of California. Nationwide, the city had the third highest rate in 2010. Stockton, Merced and Sacramento aren’t too far behind according to year-end numbers just released by foreclosure research firm RealtyTrac.

The RealtyTrac figures also show that the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area saw a nearly 30 percent drop in foreclosures over the last two years. Still, the region had the sixth highest foreclosure rate in the country last year.

Nearly 13,000 properties in Modesto, or one in every 14 housing units, got some type of foreclosure filing last year. That could have been a notice of default, a bank repossession or an auction notice.

“That’s all the bad news,” said Daren Blomquist with RealtyTrac. “The good news for Modesto, and actually this is true in a lot of the California cities, is we actually did see a decrease in foreclosure activity.”

Blomquist said Modesto’s foreclosure rate fell 13 percent last year. That’s on top of a 13 percent decrease the previous year. Blomquist said Stockton’s foreclosure rate also plunged last year.

“Nearly 19 percent from a year ago decrease in Stockton and almost 25 percent decrease from 2008,” Blomquist said. “Even though it still has a very high foreclosure rate, it’s been coming down and heading in the right direction.”

The new RealtyTrac figures show the Sacramento area had a 6 percent drop in foreclosures last year. Despite the falling numbers Stockton had the country’s seventh highest foreclosure rate. Sacramento had the 15th highest. Blomquist said the foreclosure crisis is likely to get worse this year as high unemployment and lackluster job prospects force homeowners into dire financial straits.

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