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Foreclosure starts down 28 pct. in U.S.

The number of U.S. homes entering the foreclosure process fell in January to a level not seen since the peak of the housing boom.

So-called foreclosure starts – when a home with a mortgage gone unpaid is placed on a countdown clock to possible foreclosure – declined 28 percent nationally last month from January 2012, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

Foreclosure starts also fell 11 percent from December, the firm said.

The last time fewer homes entered the foreclosure process in a single month was June 2006, when the U.S. housing market was roaring and home values were rising – trends that helped homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Foreclosure starts in January totaled 193 in McHenry County, compared to 188 in December and 206 in January 2012. Kane County foreclosure starts were 265 in January, 284 in December and 299 in January 2012; and Lake County foreclosure starts were 356 in January, 318 in December, and 327 in January 2012.

All told, 64,773 homes nationwide were placed on the path to foreclosure in January, compared to 72,511 in December and 89,467 in January 2012, RealtyTrac said.

Illinois foreclosure starts totaled 4,633, up from 4,265 in December. January 2012 foreclosure starts totaled 5,339 in the state.

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