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Published: Tuesday, 1/29/2008

Foreclosure: Michigan, Ohio rank high in '07 rate, tally

Michigan had the third highest foreclosure rate in the nation last year and Ohio had the third highest number of such actions related to repossessing houses for failure to pay mortgages on time, a new study shows.

The finishes aren't surprising, as both states, battered by the slide in the American auto industry and other weak economic indicators, typically have been among the worst in the nation for foreclosures in 2007.

RealtyTrac Inc., a online tracking firm, said today the country had 2.2 million foreclosure-related filings last year, up 75 percent from the year before. More than 1 percent of all U.S. households were in some form of foreclosure, according to the report which counts default notices, auction-sale notices, and bank repossessions.

Michigan had 1.9 percent of households entering some form of foreclosure last year, or 136,205 filings involving 87,210 properties, RealtyTrac said. Its filings were up 68 percent from the year before.

"I don't think that number is surprising based on our immediate area. I thought it would be higher, actually," said Doug Vandergrift, of the Vandergrift Co. real estate agency in Lambertville.

"I think probably sometime in April or May we will have gotten rid of a lot of the foreclosure excess that's dragging the market down. The homes out there that the banks are just about giving away, those will be gone."

The state trailed Nevada, with 3.4 percent of houses in a foreclosure activity, and Florida, at 2 percent.

Ohio trailed California and Florida in total filings, with 153,196 on 89,979 properties, RealtyTrac said. The filings for the Buckeye State were up 88 percent from 2006. In Ohio, 1.8 percent of the state's households were in some stage of foreclosure, or sixth highest in the nation.

California had 481,392 filings last year, Florida 279,325, the report showed.

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