Blomquist says Florida posted the nation's highest state foreclosure rate for the fifth month in a row.<@SM>Until last month, California held a comfortable lead over Florida for more than six years as the state with most properties with foreclosure filings. *chart courtesy of RealtyTrac

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IRVINE, CA-The Florida foreclosure rate ranked highest among the states for the fifth month in a row, edging out California’s six-year lead, according to RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties and real estate data. As GlobeSt.com reported earlier today, the firm’s market report for January revealed that US foreclosure starts fell to a six-year low last month, and scheduled foreclosure auctions increased in 26 states.

“The US foreclosure landscape in January was profoundly altered by the effects of new legislation that took effect in California on the first of the year,” said RealtyTrac’s VP Daren Blomquist in a prepared statement. “Dubbed the Homeowners Bill of Rights, this legislation extends many of the principles in the national mortgage settlement—including a prohibition on so-called dual tracking and requiring a single point of contact for borrowers facing foreclosure—to all mortgage servicers operating in California. In addition, the new law imposes fines of up to $7,500 per loan for filing of multiple unverified foreclosure documents. As a result, the downward foreclosure trend in California accelerated into hyper speed in January, decisively shifting the balance of power when it comes to the nation’s foreclosure activity.”

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For the complete report, click here.