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There were 6,138 foreclosure filings in the county in January, research firm RealtyTrac is reporting.

That total was up 13 percent from January 2008.

January’s filings, though down 8 percent from the month before, appeared to further confirm that the foreclosure rate was artificially low while lenders dealt with the new state regulation.

There was a point last fall when some analysts hoped the foreclosure trend had faded when defaults appeared to fall off.

But the drop came from a lag in the foreclosure-related filings due to a new state law requiring lenders to attempt more communication with distressed borrowers. The foreclosure rate came roaring back in December, when 6,701 foreclosure-related records were filed. That was a 40 percent increase from November.

Foreclosure filings are the records filed when a home reaches a new stage of foreclosure; there are three stages — notice of default, notice of trustees sale, and bank repossession.

You might want to check out the last few posts in Rich Toscano’s blog, too — he’s made some great graphs showing some trends in for-sale home inventory.

KELLY BENNETT

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