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NM foreclosure activity almost normal

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forelcoseThe continued easing in the pace of foreclosure activity in New Mexico during March has started to signal a gradual return to normalcy in the housing market, RealtyTrac reported Thursday.

There were 540 homes statewide somewhere in the foreclosure process last month, a 9 percent increase from 496 homes in February but a 29 percent drop from 758 homes in March 2013. New Mexico averaged 928 homes a month in the process during 2010, the peak year for foreclosure activity in the state.

As local economies and housing markets around the country improve, the Irvine, Calif.-based foreclosure listing firm said the inventory of foreclosure homes is gradually shifting from homes relatively fresh to delinquency to homes that have lingered for some time.

“Now that the foreclosure deluge has dried up, banks are turning their attention back to properties that have been sitting in foreclosure limbo for some time,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “This is most evident in judicial foreclosure states.”

New Mexico is among 26 states using a judicial process. Foreclosures typically require the lender to file a civil lawsuit against a delinquent homeowner in state district court.

Based on the ratio of homes in foreclosure to total housing units, New Mexico had the 25th highest foreclosure rate among states in March, ranking between Colorado and Missouri. Florida had the highest rate, while North Dakota had the lowest.

For all of the first quarter, New Mexico had 1,563 homes somewhere in the foreclosure process, 20 percent below the 1,950 homes in the process in the first quarter of 2013 and 38 percent below the 2,531 homes in the first quarter of 2012.

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