Oregon Public Broadcasting

The number of Oregon homes with foreclosure filings hit a five-year low last month. But, the drop could be a result of legal changes, as much as an improving economy.

The total number of Oregon properties facing foreclosure dropped to about 960 in July -- that's a 42 percent decline in one month.

Daren Blomquist of foreclosure tracking company, RealtyTrac, says there's a good reason.

"That decrease that we saw, the drop-off in July in Oregon was somewhat exaggerated because of new legislation there, that requires lenders to offer mediation to home owners before they foreclose, which was not a requirement in the past. So, it's adding another step in the foreclosure process that's slowing things down, at least in the short term," says Blomquist.

Blomquist says foreclosures have been decreasing steadily since peaking in 2010. With the current trajectory, he says, the nation could see foreclosure activity return to 2005 levels by 2014.

The map below shows the number of foreclosures in Oregon in the RealtyTrac report. For a map of foreclosures in Oregon by percentage, click here.

This map shows which states have been hit hardest by foreclosures.

Maps by Lucila Cejas Epple.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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