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Foreclosure activity falls in 178 largest metro areas

Foreclosure activity decreased in 178 of the largest metropolitan areas.

Foreclosure activity decreased in 178 of the largest metropolitan areas.

The U.S. housing market has made some significant gains since last year, especially when it comes to foreclosure activity, according to RealtyTrac's Midyear 2011 Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report. The decrease in foreclosure activity may help home prices improve, which subsequently could help consumers planning on moving to a new area get more value for their homes.

The company's report found foreclosure activity decreased in 178 of the country's 211 metropolitan areas that have a population of at least 200,000 people when comparing the first half of 2011 to last year.

“Foreclosure activity continued to slow in the first half of 2011, especially in the most foreclosure-saturated markets and in markets where the judicial foreclosure process is used,” said James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

The states continuing to struggle with foreclosures include California, Nevada and Arizona, which together account for all of the cities in the top 10 for foreclosure rates.

Florida on the other hand has seen marked improvement. The Sunshine State had only one metro area with a foreclosure rate among the top 20 highest in the country - a steep drop from the nine it posted during the first half of last year.

A drop-off in foreclosure activity may indicate the housing market is finally heading toward a recovery. However, a number of other factors have to follow suit - home prices, mortgage rates, available credit - in order for a greater recovery to take place.