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Foreclosures rise in the Pittsburgh area

| Monday, June 9, 2014, 2:27 p.m.

Foreclosure activity in the Pittsburgh region rose 16 percent last month, although housing experts doubt it is part of a long-term trend.

In the seven-county Pittsburgh region, there were 753 properties at some stage in the foreclosure process, 105 more than in April but 145 fewer than May 2013, according to data released on Tuesday by RealtyTrac. Pennsylvania had a monthly increase, but year-over-year decline. Meanwhile, the rest of the country averaged a 5 percent decline from the previous month and 26 percent decrease from a year ago.

The rise in foreclosures in Pittsburgh and the state appears to be a seasonal bump more than a fundamental shift in the market, said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.

“The long-term trend both statewide and in Pittsburgh is down, with five consecutive months — including May — of year-over-year decreases in foreclosure activity,” Blomquist said. “The statewide foreclosure activity numbers were at the highest level since last May, however, so that is something to keep an eye on. If those continue to go higher in coming months, it could be evidence of a longer-term trend.”

The bump in May foreclosures was a surprise to Sonny Bringol, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

“There's nothing that indicates to me why it would have spiked,” said Bringol, who owns Victorian Finance in Bridgeville. “We have more pre-approvals than houses to sell.”

One of every 1,464 homes in the region was in foreclosure in May. Pennsylvania's rate was higher, affecting one of every 1,001 homes, ranking the state 12th in the nation. The number of foreclosures increased about 30 percent in May but fell 4.37 percent from a year ago.

The state with the highest rate was Florida. North Dakota had the lowest rate.

Chris Fleisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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