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Foreclosures were down in 2012

Last week's good news about the declining number of mortgage foreclosure notices reached into Dakota County.

According to data collected by the Minnesota Homeownership Center, Minnesota households received 39,054 preforeclosure notices in 2012, more than 28 percent fewer than they did in 2011.

For the fourth quarter of 2012, Minnesota homeowners received only 6,937 preforeclosure notices, 45 percent fewer than during the same time period in 2011, reaching the lowest level since state law required that mortgage servicers provide the notices in late 2008.

For Dakota County, the number of sale notices for 2012 was at about 1,430, compared to 1,988 in 2011. That is a decrease of about 30 percent.

Since the Dakota County Sheriff's Office began reporting sale notices in 1999, the highest number reached was in 2,147 in 2010. That was up slightly from 2009's total of 1,860 sales.

"It is encouraging to see that the foreclosure situation continues to improve for Minnesota households," said Julie Gugin, executive director of the Minnesota Homeownership Center. "The state of the economy, the willingness of lenders to work with struggling homeowners before they enter the foreclosure process and the hard work of our network of foreclosure prevention counselors are all impacting the number of households in preforeclosure. However it is also important to note that tens of thousands of households continue to struggle with payments."