Phoenix home foreclosures surged by almost 4 percent in January this year from December last year, bucking the declining trend shown by most other large metro areas.

The Phoenix metropolitan area was the only area that stepped up month-over-month in foreclosure activity in January among the ten most foreclosure-clobbered metro areas.

While Las Vegas posted the highest foreclosure rate of one out of every 82 residential units, it posted a decrease of 2 percent from December 2009 and a substantial 21-percent drop from January 2009.

Like the pace in Phoenix, the pace of home foreclosures in Arizona bucked the declining foreclosure trend in most other U.S. states. A total of 21,048 homes in Arizona were hit with foreclosure or delinquency filings, marking a 4.5-percent jump from December 2009 and a 43.4-percent jump from January 2009.

Of the more than 21,000 filings in Arizona, a total of 8,637 were already repossessed by the banks and counted in their books as foreclosure houses for sale. With a filing rate of one in 129, Arizona was second only to Nevada in foreclosure activity in January.

Similarly, the one in 102 rate of Phoenix home foreclosures put the city second to Las Vegas in foreclosures in January.

In 2009, foreclosure postings also rose in Phoenix to a total 133,809, marking a 37-percent jump from 2008 and representing more than 8 percent of all houses in the metro area that includes Mesa and Scottsdale.

Sales of pre-owned homes in December 2009 in the Phoenix area increased to their highest level in 4 years as home prices dropped and as demand from investors soared.

More than 8,800 newly-built and pre-owned single-family homes and condo units were sold in Maricopa County, where Phoenix is the county seat, and in Pinal County in December. The sales performance marked a 31-percent increase year-over-year and a 3.3-percent increase month-over-month. It also marked the highest sales volume for the month of December since 2006 when the December sales reached 11,341 units and the 12th straight month that house sales climbed up.

With 7,750 existing homes sold, home resales in December 2009 also reached their highest level for the month of December since 2005 when the December sales reached 9,386 units.

Phoenix home foreclosures largely drove the increase in sales in December as more than 52 percent of all home resales during the month were properties that had been repossessed 12 months prior to their sale.

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