US foreclosure starts in Q1 down 27% year-over-year; foreclosure, homebuilding starts up in 19 housing markets including Las Vegas and Seattle, five states including Washington, Nevada, New Jersey: RealtyTrac

WASHINGTON , May 16, 2013 () – As U.S. homes in foreclosure decline, home builders are increasing their activities, online marketplace RealtyTrac said Thursday.

An analysis of foreclosure and home permit data showed that single-family permits in the first quarter rose 27 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The decline in foreclosure starts matched that by percentage. RealtyTrac said foreclosure starts dropped 27 percent over the same period.

The figures suggest the housing supply would break even, but local markets have different trends. In 19 housing markets, both permits and foreclosure starts rose, including Las Vegas and Seattle.

In those markets, numbers "indicate the scales will tip more heavily in favor of supply of homes for sale in the coming months -- both new homes and foreclosures," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

On a statewide level, increases in permits issued and foreclosure starts in the first quarter were posted by Washington, Nevada, New Jersey, Maryland and New York, RealtyTrac said.

By contrast, in San Antonio, Albuquerque, Fresno and Bakersfield, Calif., and in Greensboro, N.C., the number of permits issued and foreclosure starts both declined in the first quarter from January through March of 2012.

Those markets, if demand is consistent, would be expected to tilt in favor of home sellers.

"Nationwide and in most markets it appears builders are planning to ramp up activity that will help offset a drop in foreclosure starts," Blomquist said.

"On the other extreme there are some markets where both building permits and foreclosure starts are down dramatically, indicating that there will be no reprieve from the shortage of homes for sale in those markets in the near future," he added.
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