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by Special to    Thu, Jan 12, 2006, 12:20 PM

BOCA RATON, Fla., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- According to data released today by, 91,905 foreclosed residential properties were available for sale in the United States during December -- an increase of 12.7 percent from November. The total number of new foreclosures listed for sale in December -- 24,124 -- increased 7.7 percent from the prior month. These increases mark the highest month-to-month increase of both new and total foreclosures since March 2005.

The South region of the U.S. -- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas -- led the country with a 17.4 increase in new foreclosures from November to December and a nine percent increase in new foreclosures. The Midwest region showed the second highest percentage increases, followed by the Northeast and West regions.

"The relative stability of U.S. foreclosure inventory ended in December," said Brad Geisen, president and CEO, "With lending institutions closing their books at the end of the year, it is somewhat common for the foreclosure inventory to rise. It is premature to predict that December's inventory indicates a foreclosure crisis in the U.S.; however, this rise in inventory, which is higher than in recent years, should be closely monitored as 2006 begins."

Geisen continued, "If factors such as waning investor confidence in the housing market, high interest rates and a weakening sellers market continue, it is very likely that foreclosure inventory will remain high in the early months of 2006. Regardless of what happens in the first quarter, the current foreclosure inventory represents a very strong buyers market for investors and individuals."

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