IRVINE, Calif., April 26 (UPI) -- Roughly half of 212 U.S. cities tracked by market researchers saw foreclosure activity rise in the first quarter of 2012, a private firm said.
RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties, said 114 of 212 cities with populations above 200,000 experienced increased foreclosure activity January through March.
In larger cities, the ratio held with 26 out of 50 metropolitan areas experiencing increases. City increases were led by Philadelphia, up 49 percent; Indianapolis, up 37 percent, and New York, up 24 percent.
The largest quarterly decreases among the 50 largest U.S. cities were Portland, Ore., where foreclosures fell 28 percent quarter to quarter; Las Vegas, down 26 percent, and Providence, R.I., down 24 percent.
Although up from the previous quarter, in 64 percent of the 212 areas tracked, foreclosure activity dropped from the first quarter of 2011.
"First quarter metro foreclosure trends were a mixed bag. While the majority of metro areas continued to show foreclosure activity down from a year ago, more than half reported increasing foreclosure activity from the previous quarter -- an early sign that long-dormant foreclosures are coming out of hibernation in many local markets," said Brandon Moore, RealtyTrac's chief executive officer in a statement.
Stockton, Calif., experienced the highest foreclosure rate among U.S. cities in the first quarter with one in every 60 housing units involved in foreclosure processes.
Modesto, Calif., posted the second highest foreclosure rate and 10 other California cities were among the top 20, the firm said.
But the largest annual increases were outside California. From the first quarter of 2011, foreclosure activity rose 52 percent in Orlando, Fla., 41 percent in Indianapolis, 38 percent in Hartford, Conn., 37 percent in Miami and 33 percent in Philadelphia, RealtyTrac said.