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Foreclosure rates down in leading metro areas

The rate of foreclosure has declined in areas high in foreclosure.

The rate of foreclosure has declined in areas high in foreclosure.

The latest report from RealtyTrac is proof positive that every cloud has its silver lining.

According to the report, the foreclosure rate increased in 2010 in 149 of the 206 metropolitan areas with at least 200,000 people. But the good news is that the 10 metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates had less foreclosure activity compared to 2009, signaling they're no longer the runaway leaders.

"Foreclosure floodwaters receded somewhat in 2010 in the nation’s hardest-hit housing markets," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. "Even so, foreclosure levels remained five to 10 times higher than historic norms in most of those hard-hit markets, where deep faultlines of risk remain and could potentially trigger more waves of foreclosure activity in 2011 and beyond."

Some of those "hard-hit" markets include Houston, Seattle and Atlanta, where foreclosure rates increased 26 percent, 23 percent and 21 percent, respectively, compared to 2009.

The hardest hit areas, like Las Vegas, Ft. Myers and Modesto, California, weren't quite as bad in 2010, posting foreclosure declines of 7 percent, 28 percent and 13 percent, respectively, compared to 2009.

Numbers like these seem to support findings from Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey that said over 47 percent of the homes sold in the United States last month were foreclosed.