Realtors say foreclosure spike report is false

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX --- Arizona real estate experts are denouncing a recent report, which said foreclosures in the Phoenix area are spiking again.

California-based RealtyTrac reported a 104 percent increase in foreclosure filings in January of 2015, compared to December of 2014.  The company also reported foreclosures were up 45 percent from January 2014, and at a 20-month high.

"Math is math," Mike Orr of Arizona State University's WP Carey School of Business.

"There was certainly nothing special about January.  January [foreclosures were] lower than December," he said.

Orr has been compiling foreclosure statistics for years, and suspects RealtyTrac had a backlog of data, which went into their database for January, and caused the spike.

"My [foreclosure] numbers were higher than theirs for the last five months, but in December mine were much lower.  So  It appears they had a backlog, which they caught up in January, making it look like a spike," he said.

The spike, he said, is "only in their database, not in reality."

"I found the data was completely false," real estate agent Michael D'Elena echoed.

"It's damaging and frustrating. We take pride in our market and our recovery.  To have false data printed is frustrating," he added.

Orr reports roughly 800 notices of trustee sales are still posted each month, but says overall foreclosures have flat-lined.  

"In fact, my frustration with foreclosures is that they're boring right now. There's nothing much to talk about because they're the same from month to month," Orr said.