By The Associated Press
JACKSON — The pace of home foreclosures in Mississippi slowed substantially in 2011, following a national trend that may soon be reversed, a national foreclosure tracking firm said Thursday.
Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac said that in 2011, 3,172 homes in the state were hit by some sort of foreclosure action. Those range from an initial notice of default to repossession by a lender. The state ranked 46th in the country as the foreclosure rate fell 40 percent from 2010 and 41 percent from 2009.
The fourth-quarter foreclosure numbers in Mississippi also fell sharply. There were 798 foreclosure actions, including 481 lender repossessions. The foreclosure rate fell about 25 percent from the third quarter of 2010 and 58 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010.
During the quarter, RealtyTrac ranked Mississippi 44th. The state has ranked near the bottom of the foreclosure numbers during the current housing crisis, which experts have said is partly due to the low number of homeowners in the state.
Nationwide, RealtyTrac said foreclosure filings hit a 49-month low in December with 205,024 targeted properties. However, legal tangles over foreclosure paperwork delayed the targeting of many properties — and those logjams began to be worked out late in 2011, said RealtyTrac chief executive Brandon Moore.
“We expect that trend to continue this year, boosting foreclosure activity for 2012 higher than it was in 2011, though still below the peak of 2010,” Moore said.
Nevada, Arizona and California posted the higher foreclosure rates for 2011, followed by Georgia, Utah, Michigan, Florida, Illinois, Colorado and Idaho.