While foreclosure activity is easing nationally, Central Pennsylvania counties and the commonwealth saw double-digit hikes in 2012, according to California-based foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc.
Cumberland County was the exception.
The U.S. saw foreclosure-related filings — that includes default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — drop 3 percent from 2011 and 36 percent from the 2010 peak, according to RealtyTrac.
Bank repossessions fell nearly 17 percent nationally, about 13 percent in Pennsylvania.
"The 28 percent increase in foreclosure activity statewide foreshadows more foreclosure inventory
available for real estate investors to buy in 2013," Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac's vice president, said about Pennsylvania. "I think the infusion of more foreclosure inventory in 2012 will tip the scales back more toward a buyer's market in 2013."
There was a lull in foreclosure activity in 2011, which might have helped builders against competition from distressed properties, he said. That competition is expected to return in 2013, which could threaten new housing starts.
"We anticipate Pennsylvania will be able to work through its backlog of delayed foreclosures more quickly than some of the surrounding states, namely New York and New Jersey, which have lengthier foreclosure timelines that have built up a bigger backlog in those states," Blomquist said. "That means the increases in foreclosure activity will slow down more quickly in Pennsylvania than in those neighboring states."
New Jersey came in at No. 31 with 27,125 filings in 2012, or 0.76 percent of housing units, according to RealtyTrac. New York was No. 41 with 34,251, or 0.42 percent.