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Maryland experts expect deluge of foreclosure filings

A new report shows that mixed news is coming from the home foreclosure front. Although foreclosure filings are overall on the decline, more homes are entering the foreclosure process. Maryland is expected to be one of the hardest-hit states as more and more Americans face the threat of home foreclosure.

The total number of monthly foreclosure filings during early 2012 was at its lowest point since 2007, according to RealtyTrac, the group that conducted the study. However, the group found that the number of homes that received a first-time foreclosure action rose again, showing a three-month trend.

Maryland, in particular, saw a 53 percent increase in the number of first-time foreclosure actions. This rise follows a gain of more than 157 percent from January to February of this year. Foreclosures generally take one to two years to be fully processed, according to legal experts, which means that Maryland could be facing a deluge of foreclosures in the near future. Realtors predict that this situation will weaken the housing market even further.

It would seem that neighboring Virginia has not experienced the same level of hardship, with foreclosures in that state dropping by 19 percent since the last quarter of 2011. Virginia's rates are down 43 percent from the same time last year. Housing prices are on the rise there and state representatives say the market seems to be rebounding, albeit at a snail's pace.

Local experts say that determining an overall trend for the Washington, D.C., area has become increasingly difficult because of the disparities between Maryland and Virginia. Washington has fewer foreclosures overall, but foreclosure rates have fluctuated wildly throughout the past year. The district had 35 percent fewer foreclosure filings in the first quarter of 2012 than at the same time last year.

Source: WTOP, "Flood of foreclosures in Md," Darci Marchese, April 12, 2012

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