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Number of People Losing Homes Rising

By Catherine Reagor
The Arizona Republic
Aug 24, 2007

The number of people losing homes in metropolitan Phoenix climbed again in July, and market-watchers are concerned that foreclosures haven't peaked yet. Last month, 806 homes were foreclosed on Valley-wide. That's at least a five-year high, according to the Phoenix-based real-estate research firm Information Market. July's rate is the highest since January 2002, when 566 homes were foreclosed on.

Most of the homes, almost 86 percent, in foreclosure now are going back to the lender. In the past, Maricopa County trustee sales or foreclosure auctions were very popular with investors. Crowds showed up on the courthouse steps to bid on the homes. But now more is owed on most of the homes than what they are worth.

Foreclosure notices, or trustee-sale notices, with information on the properties are filed with the Maricopa County Recorder's Office. Private services also track foreclosure information and sell it to groups looking for properties to bid on. Unfortunately, when homes go back to the lender it means they are empty and unkempt for a while. Valley city inspectors already are getting complaints about green swimming pools serving as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

The precursor to foreclosures, notice of trustee sales, climbed to 2,478. That's also a five-year high for metro Phoenix. A notice to foreclose on a home is filed by the lender when the borrower falls 
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