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REAL ESATE REPORT

May foreclosure filings up in Ohio and Michigan

Foreclosure-filings

Ohio had 8,379 filings in May, up 5 percent from April, and Michigan had 14,614 filings, up 12 percent, according to RealtyTrac.

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Ohio and Michigan, as well as metro Toledo, had an uptick in foreclosure-related filings from April to May, according to real estate data firm RealtyTrac Inc.

The increase probably occurred as banks caught up on delayed foreclosure proceedings, experts said.

Ohio had 8,379 filings in May, up 5 percent from April, and Michigan had 14,614 filings, up 12 percent, according to California-based RealtyTrac.

The report, released Thursday, counts default and auction notices and bank repossessions.

The four-county metro Toledo area had 719 foreclosure-related filings last month, up 29 percent from April, RealtyTrac said.

Terry McLeary, a broker with Carrietowne Realtors in Sylvania Township, said the local housing market remains difficult, despite improvement from last year's economy.

"We're finally starting to see some people that are starting to look," he said. "I can't say the number of buyers is increasing."

The metro Toledo and Ohio and Michigan figures are all down from the same month last year, but a month-to-month uptick recently has raised concerns about whether the dire conditions in the housing market have ended.

Nationally, RealtyTrac reported 214,927 foreclosure filings in May, down 2 percent from April and down 33 percent from May, 2010.

RealtyTrac spokesman Daren Blomquist said it appears that Ohio and Michigan may have experienced an artificial decline in foreclosures last year when banks faced federal scrutiny over "robo-signing" and other foreclosure practices.

Some banks, including GMAC Mortgage and Bank of America, halted foreclosures for a period of time over concerns about alleged fraudulent foreclosure activities.

"It's another signal that the decreases we've seen in foreclosure activity over the last few months are not a sign of a permanent trend, but a sign of a short-term slowdown," Mr. Blomquist said.

The increases, he said, could continue through the second half of 2011.

Contact Sheena Harrison at: sharrison@theblade.com or 419-724-6103.

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