With a surge of filings in the fourth quarter, the number of Whatcom County foreclosure filings in 2012 nearly matched the 2011 total.
RealtyTrac, an online database of foreclosure properties, reports that 546 foreclosure filings were sent out to Whatcom County households in 2012, down from 559 in 2011. Nearly half of those 2012 filings - 242 - came in the final three months of the year.
While nearly matching the previous year, the 2012 total is down significantly from 2010, when 863 filings took place.
RealtyTrac estimates that one in every 166 Whatcom housing units received a filing notice last year. The foreclosure rate in Washington was one per 95 housing units; the national rate was one per 72 units, according to the report.
The surge in filings during the fourth quarter was a trend across Washington - filings last quarter were up 65 percent compared to a year ago. A backlog in distressed property in this state because of changes to how foreclosures are handled is often cited as a factor for the recent increase in filings.
Across the U.S., 2.3 million foreclosure filings were sent out last year, down 3 percent from 2011 and down 36 percent compared to 2010. Florida had the highest foreclosure rate in 2012, with filings being sent to one in every 32 households, followed by Nevada and Arizona. Washington state ranked 19th highest.