The substantial number of available lower-priced Portland foreclosed homes and the strong prospects for economic recovery in Portland make the city among the three hot spots for real estate investment in the Northwest.

Local real estate market professionals said that during the first year of the U.S. foreclosure crisis, the Northwest cities of Portland, Seattle and Boise did not experience significant levels of distress. Only when the recession persisted and worsened did these cities posted substantial numbers of foreclosures.

In February, one foreclosure was posted for every 582 households in Pierce County. In King County, the ratio was one foreclosure for every 1,279 households. One filing for every 1,181 homes was posted in Thurston County. The worst foreclosure activity in the Northwest in February was experienced in Snohomish County, where one foreclosure was posted for every 563 households.

The number of foreclosed homes for sale in Oregon in February decreased, but the number still gave prospective buyers plenty of units to choose from. A total of 1,080 housing units were repossessed by lenders in February, down from the 1,422 units bought back by lenders in January. Total filings also decreased from 4,812 units in January to 3,312 units in February.

While foreclosure activity slowed between January and February, foreclosure postings statewide increased in the first three months of 2010 compared to the first quarter last year. The substantial number of Portland foreclosed homes contributed to the increase.

In the first three months, more than 12,000 foreclosures were posted throughout the state of Oregon. These included notices of delinquency, foreclosure sales and repossessions and they marked a 14.5-percent jump in foreclosure activity year-over-year.

During the quarter, one foreclosure occurred for every 135 households in Oregon, lower than the national average rate of one foreclosure for every 138 homes. Over 932,000 foreclosures were posted nationwide in the first three months, a jump of 16 percent from total filings in the first quarter last year.

Analysts said that foreclosure activity nationwide followed the foreclosure trend in the first three months last year, with declines in activity in January and February and a sharp resurge in March. They also reported that there were more bank repossessions so far this year than last year. The first quarter also had the highest number of real estate owned units ever recorded nationwide.

Despite the late surge in number of Portland foreclosed homes, local housing market analysts believe that the Portland market will be able to absorb foreclosures and hold up well.

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