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Foreclosures continue to decline in Pittsburgh region

| Thursday, July 14, 2016, 12:13 a.m.

Foreclosure filings in the greater Pittsburgh region are down through the first half of the year, following nationwide declines that are being driven by steady improvements in regional housing markets and the economy.

Foreclosures through June in the seven-county metro area dropped 7 percent from a year ago, according to a RealtyTrac report released Thursday.

The nationwide decline was more pronounced, falling nearly 11 percent from a year ago.

Rising home prices, improving loan quality and declining numbers of bad loans lingering on banks' books have contributed to the decline in foreclosure activity, said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac vice president.

Also, low interest rates have helped some homeowners who may have been struggling.

“Those homeowners that maybe were close to being in trouble during the crisis, if they have been able to hold on this long, there is a chance they can sell their home or refinance into a better loan they can afford,” Blomquist said.

In Western Pennsylvania, Allegheny, Armstrong, Washington and Westmoreland counties had decreases in foreclosures compared with the first six months of 2015, and every county except Beaver had declines from the second half of last year.

Pittsburgh's decline in foreclosures was not as dramatic as other parts of the country because this market was not hit as hard during the housing crisis. Home prices here did not have the rapid inflation that occurred in parts of Florida and Nevada, which were at the center of the crisis, and therefore did not experience a wave of foreclosures after the market collapsed.

Not every city experienced declines in the first half of the year. Philadelphia was one of five major metro areas that posted a year-over-year increase, with foreclosures rising 7 percent.

Pennsylvania overall had a slight drop in foreclosures from a year ago, with filings down 3 percent from the first half of 2015.

Chris Fleisher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7854 or cfleisher@tribweb.com.

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