Total foreclosures in 2009 reached 2.8 million, a 21 percent increase over 2008 and a 120 percent rise compared to 2007, according to foreclosure sales Web site RealtyTrac in a year-end report released Wednesday.

RealtyTrac also reported that fourth quarter foreclosures decreased 7 percent from the third quarter, although they were up 18 percent compared to 2008. December 2009 foreclosures were up 14 percent over December 2008.

The 10 states with the highest foreclosure rates in 2009 were: Nevada, Arizona, Florida, California, Utah, Idaho, Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, and Colorado.

California, Florida, Arizona, Illinois account for 50 percent of the foreclosures. The other 10 states with the largest numbers of foreclosures are Michigan, Nevada, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, and New Jersey.

A massive supply of delinquent loans continues to loom over the housing market, and many of those delinquencies will end up in the foreclosure process in 2010 and beyond as lenders gradually work their way through the backlog, says RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio.

Source: The Associated Press (01/14/2010)