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Georgia ranks 4th in foreclosures

Georgia ranked fourth nationally in foreclosure filing rates during the third quarter of 2011 and foreclosures could start climbing again after months of drops, according to the CEO of RealtyTrac.

"U.S. foreclosure activity has been mired down since October of last year, when the robo-signing controversy sparked a flurry of investigations into lender foreclosure procedures and paperwork," said James Saccacio of the California firm.

Robo-signing involved lenders filing misdated, forged or improper paperwork in foreclosures. RealtyTrac's numbers include default notices, auctions and bank repossessions.

Though foreclosures have been trending down, Saccacio expects the numbers to increase as lenders move past those problems.

"... Lenders are cautiously throwing more wood into the foreclosure fireplace after spending months trying to clear the chimney of sloppily filed foreclosures," he said.

Nevada led the nation with one of every 44 homes showing a foreclosure filing during the quarter. California was second with one for every 88 homes; Arizona was third with one of every 93, and Georgia was fourth with one of every 121 homes, according to RealtyTrac numbers.

The metro Atlanta fared worse than the state, with one in 89 homes showing a filing. Florida rounded out the top five in RealtyTrac's list with one of every 130 homes showing a filing.

Vermont had the lowest rate, where one of every 8,483 homes had a filing.

Equity Depot, which tracks metro foreclosures, said Monday foreclosure notices, the first step in the process which may lead to a repossession or sale, ticked up month-to-month in the metro area. There were 8,845 foreclosure notices in October, up 16 percent from September's 7,634.