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Foreclosures spike in Maryland

The total number of foreclosures in Maryland ranked among the nation’s top 10 metropolitan areas in February for the first time since July 2010, according to a report released Wednesday.

Baltimore’s foreclosure rate was up 145 percent over last year’s figures, the report by the foreclosure data group RealtyTrac states. The city joined Miami, Seattle, New York and Tampa in posting yearly increases in foreclosure activity among large metropolitan jurisdictions as measured by population.

The report also found that overall, the rate of foreclosures in the U.S. increased by 10 percent in February when compared to January figures.

The new figures point to geographic inconsistencies in foreclosure filings across the U.S., said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac vice president.

“These new foreclosure hot spots include states like Washington, where seven straight months of rising foreclosure activity pushed the state’s foreclosure rate to fifth highest nationwide — the highest it’s ever been in our report — and Maryland, where eight straight months of rising foreclosure activity placed the state’s foreclosure rate among the top 10 nationwide…” Blomquist said in a statement.

Maryland ranked ninth in the U.S. in total foreclosures in February.

“At a high level the U.S. foreclosure inferno has been effectively contained and should be reduced to a slow burn in the next two years. But dangerous foreclosure flare-ups are still popping up in states where foreclosures have been delayed by a lengthy court process or by new legislation making it more difficult to foreclose outside of the court system.”

Blomquist said that the rising number of foreclosure starts over the past months is likely to lead to bank repossessions or short sales later this year.

Maryland’s increase in foreclosure starts was 319 percent, the report states, as 1,918 households received a notice of default from a lender in February, a nearly 105 percent increase over February 2012 data.

Florida remained at the top of the list for the most foreclosures in the U.S., the report showed, followed by Nevada and Illinois.