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Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 11:48am

Georgia Foreclosures Up 30%

Georgia now tops the nation in home foreclosures.

The state leaped past Arizona, Florida, California and Nevada to lead the country in foreclosures in May.

Filings in the state are up 30% from a year ago.

The online service RealtyTrac says the state leaped into the top spot in May with about one-in-600 homes in foreclosure, twice the national average.

Atlanta is second among metro areas only to Riverside, California.

The data reflects how banks and mortgage servicers are stepping up efforts to collect on unpaid mortgages.

Tom Merkel of the non-profit housing consultancy The Impact Group says, banks are ramping up foreclosures after lawsuits slowed processing last year.

"And so to some regard, what you're seeing now is these banks have now opened up the flood gates, so to speak, and have started processing foreclosures again," Merkel says. "With our clients and the amount of business that comes in our door. I don't think you're going to see an end to this at least for a year. Internally, we're projecting 2014."

Merkel also blames weak hiring.

Georgia's 8.9% unemployment rate stood still in May after falling for ten months.