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Foreclosures Drop In 2011, Likely To Rise In 2012

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The foreclosure crisis crippled South Florida and created a backlog in the court system; and even though the overall economy is improving, the housing market remains in limbo.

According to RealtyTrac, 1.9 million homes entered the foreclosure process in 2011. The foreclosure numbers were the lowest level since 2007 when the housing bubble exploded and the Great Recession began.

But, RealtyTrac said the numbers don't mean that foreclosures are necessarily going down. The company said that complications and confusion over documentation and other legal issues have clogged courts and stopped the foreclosure process in many cases.

"Foreclosures were in full delay mode in 2011, resulting in a dramatic drop in foreclosure activity for the year," RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore said in a statement.

South Floridians can't celebrate just yet. RealtyTrac said that 2012's foreclosure rate will be higher than in 2011, but lower than the peak in 2010.

In the last year, Florida, Michigan, California, Nevada, and Arizona were among the states with the most foreclosures and highest foreclosure rates.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, RealtyTrac said there were foreclosure fillings for 586,133 homes in the U.S. which is down 27 percent from the same time in 2010.

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