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Foreclosures take forever in one part of the D.C. area

Monday - 1/16/2012, 11:48am  ET

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - It likely comes as no surprise that the foreclosure process can be pretty lengthy. But in one part of the D.C. area, just how long it takes from start to finish is startling.

In Virginia, the entire foreclosure process -- from the initial filing to the bitter end -- takes 132 days, or about four months, according to Daren Blomquist, spokesperson for RealtyTrac.

But in Maryland, Blomquist says the foreclosure process takes 634 days, or nearly two years. Foreclosures in Maryland go through the courts, which leads to the lengthy process.

Even John McClain, a senior fellow and deputy director at George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis, was surprised at the time frame.

"Having almost a two-year process for doing foreclosures is really just slowing down the overall market recovery," says McClain.

McClain says the more quickly foreclosures are completed, the more quickly an area recovers. As an example, he points to Prince William County.

"The longer that property sits there, the longer its value is holding down the other values in the neighborhood," he explains.

RealtyTrac reports 1,155 new foreclosures in Maryland in December. There were 2,792 in Virginia.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)