U.S. home foreclosures jumped 12 percent last month, but the sharp divide between states suggests the industry remains backlogged by investigations into the foreclosure process.
According to a report from real estate data firm RealtyTrac, lenders foreclosed on 78,133 properties in January, up 12 percent from the month before, but down 11 percent from January a year ago.
Bank seizures at states with non-judicial foreclosure processes jumped 23 percent, while states with a judicial process saw a decrease of 7 percent.
"It suggests the system is still frozen up. We should have seen a much larger increase in both overall activity and bank repossession," said Rick Sharga, senior vice president at RealtyTrac.
"The numbers will inevitably go up, it's just a question of will it be sooner or will it be later."
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