Home foreclosures still up in Alexandria

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Home foreclosures still up in Alexandria
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The rising rate of defaults and foreclosures continued their steep run-up in Alexandria City and Alexandria-Fairfax County in the first quarter of 2008, according to the research company Realty Trac Inc.

On the company’s Web site, 1,286 properties were listed in foreclosure Greater Alexandria, which includes the City and Fairfax County section. If broken out by occupied households,  Alexandria City and Alexandria-Fairfax County would have one of the nation’s highest foreclosure rates, with one filing for every 65 households.

Grouped with the three other major cities, the Alexandria, Arlington, District area had the nation’s 22nd-highest foreclosure rate in the first quarter, with one filing for every 112 households, Realty Trac said. Virginia had the 15th-highest rate of foreclosures in the country, with one foreclosure for every 246 households.

Nevada boasted the worst rate in the U.S. in the first quarter, with one foreclosure filing for every 54 households in the state. Maryland had the nation’s 12th-highest foreclosure rate, with one for every 202 households, and while the District was not ranked by RealtyTrac among the states, it would have placed 15th, just behind Virginia. The District had one foreclosure filing for every 260 households in First Quarter 2008.

Foreclosures were reported on 649,917 properties nationwide during the first quarter, a 23 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2007 and a 112 percent increase from the first quarter of 2007, according to RealtyTrac.

Among major metropolitan regions, the Stockton, Calif., area had the highest rate of foreclosure activity, with one filing for every 30 households.

Elsewhere in the Washington area, the Bethesda, Frederick, Gaithersburg area had the country’s 49th-highest foreclosure rate for metro regions, with one filing for every  207 households.

Foreclosures are not only a disaster for families but also for communities, said former National Association of Realtors President Pat Vredevoogd Combs. She said that problematic loans are often made in concentrated areas, and high foreclosure rates of single-family homes can seriously threaten a neighborhoods stability and a communitys well being.

Foreclosures can lead to high vacancy rates, which in turn, can cause all homes in the neighborhood to lose value, Combs said. She said that many Realtors believe that some families dont understand the risks of taking out exotic mortgages.

Working with the Center for Responsible Lending and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights,  Combs urged consumers to make sure they understand the risks and rewards of all types of mortgages before they make a decision on a loan. 

She also advised consumers to consult with a Realtor and to participate in mortgage education programs sponsored by Realtors before they buy a home.  We are committed to helping people buy and keep the home of their dreams, and an educated consumer really can make the best decision, said Combs, a Coldwell Banker Realtor.

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