Despite the many programs gearing up or in place to help homeowners resolve problems with their mortgages, foreclosure related activities continued to increase in January. But, perhaps partially because of these programs, the rate of increase appears to be slowing from the pace of previous months.

In a report released Tuesday, RealtyTrac®, a company that provides foreclosure data to a number of media markets, stated that foreclosure filings which include default notices, auction sales notices, and bank repossessions increased 8 percent in January from the December numbers. One year ago the January figure was 19 percent higher than that for December.

There were a total of 233,001 properties against which foreclosure actions were taken during the month; 45,327 of these homes were actually repossessed by the lender, 90 percent more than in January 2007.

The January 2008 filings increased nearly 57 percent over January 2007. Last month's report revealed that the December pace of filings was 7 percent higher than the month before but nearly double the figure in December 2006.

RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio said "January's foreclosure numbers demonstrate that foreclosure activity is continuing on its upward trend, substantially increasing from a year ago in many states. However, the 8 percent monthly increase in January is not as precipitous as the 19 percent spike we saw in January of 2007, and several key states actually experienced decreasing foreclosure activity from the previous month. It could be that some of the efforts on the parts of lenders and the government - both at the state and federal level - are beginning to take effect. The big question is whether those efforts are truly helping homeowners avoid foreclosure in the long term or if they are just temporarily forestalling the inevitable for many beleaguered borrowers."

Nevada, in spite of the fact that foreclosure activity decreased 45 percent from December, still had the highest foreclosure rate in the country with 6,087 actions, a 0.597 rate. California, Florida, Arizona, and Colorado rounded out the top five.

In actual number of foreclosure actions, California led all other states. Filings were reported on a total of 57,158 properties in the state in January. This was a 7 percent increase from December and 120 percent higher than one year earlier. Florida's activity was down 3 percent from the previous month but the state was still second in the nation with 30,178 filings. This figure was 158 percent higher than one year earlier. Texas, Ohio, Michigan, and Georgia each had more than 10,000 actions reported during the month.