Coast home foreclosures spike

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST — The number of homeowners along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in danger of losing their residences jumped sharply during the first three months of 2010, according to a report released today.

Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac, which tracks foreclosure actions nationwide, said that 369 foreclosure-related notices went out during the first quarter in Gulfport-Biloxi, a 195 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2009.

One in every 287 housing units was targeted in that market for some sort of action ranging from an initial notice of default to outright confiscation and sale by a lender. RealtyTrac, in its quarterly summary of 206 metropolitan areas with at least 200,000 people, did not break down the numbers into the various legal notices required before an owner loses property.

Gulfport-Biloxi ranked 137th nationwide, RealtyTrac said.

At the same time, RealtyTrac reported a first-quarter drop in foreclosure-related notices in the Jackson area. There were 305 filings affecting one in every 731 housing units, a 30 percent reduction from the fourth quarter of 2009, ranking Jackson 183rd, RealtyTrac said.

RealtyTrac said areas in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona — all with long-running problems from the collapse of the U.S. housing market — accounted for all of the top 20 foreclosure rates. Las Vegas had the highest rate with one in 28 housing units receiving a foreclosure-related filing during the first quarter.

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