Foreclosures activity rose in the first quarter in a majority of major U.S. housing markets, according to ReatlyTrac, a real estate research firm.
In the first quarter of 2012, 54 percent of U.S. metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more reported quarterly increases in foreclosure activity.
First-quarter foreclosure activity increased from the previous quarter in 26 out of the nation’s 50 largest metro areas, led by Pittsburgh (up 49 percent), Indianapolis (up 37 percent), Philadelphia (up 30 percent), New York (up 24 percent), Raleigh, N.C. (up 23 percent), and Virginia Beach, Va. (up 22 percent), RealtyTrac says in a statement.
Portland, Oregon, Las Vegas, Providence, R.I., Salt Lake City, Boston, and San Jose, Calif. saw decreases.
“First-quarter metro foreclosure trends were a mixed bag,” Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, says in the statement.
“While the majority of metro areas continued to show foreclosure activity down from a year ago, more than half reported increasing foreclosure activity from the previous quarter — an early sign that long-dormant foreclosures are coming out of hibernation in many local markets.”
The Federal Reserve has pointed out that housing continues to weigh down on the economy.
"Labor market conditions have improved in recent months; the unemployment rate has declined but remains elevated. Household spending and business fixed investment have continued to advance," the Fed says in its April monetary policy statement, where it left interest rates unchanged at near zero percent.
"Despite some signs of improvement, the housing sector remains depressed. Inflation has picked up somewhat, mainly reflecting higher prices of crude oil and gasoline. However, longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable."
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