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Real estate experts have for some time predicted that foreclosures in the Tampa Bay area, which have fallen for five straight months, would start rising as lenders cleared a backlog of filings caused by allegations that thousands of them contained improper signatures.

They were right.

Initial foreclosure notices here increased 4.9 percent in April, according to a RealtyTrac report released today. Lenders delivered new notices to 2,701 homeowners around Tampa Bay.

Filings in many other Florida regions climbed from March. Sarasota-Bradenton jumped 27.33 percent; Miami-Fort Lauderdale 6.18 percent; Orlando 18.29 percent; and Ocala 20.14 percent, the report said, although there was a slight dip in the state as a whole.

Peter Murphy, president of the Tampa real estate firm Home Encounter, predicts foreclosure filings to rise as lenders clear the backlog of cases that once had paperwork issues.

"They have to get these homes through foreclosure," he said. "We still have a lot of people who are delinquent."

Foreclosure filings statewide are down 59 percent from April 2010, with Tampa Bay down 57 percent in the same period. One of every 451 homes in Florida received a notice last month.

Nationally, initial filings have dropped 8.56 percent to a 40-month low, said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. He cautioned the decrease isn't connected to a housing recovery.

"This slowdown continues to be largely the result of massive delays in processing foreclosures rather than the result of a housing recovery that is lifting people out of foreclosure."

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Foreclosure rates

Location April filings % change from March % change from April 2010
Nation 219,258 -8.56 -34.32
Florida 19,649 -0.31 -59.39
Tampa Bay 2,701 +4.89 -57.07
Hillsborough 1,160 +5.94 -54.15
Pasco 439 -13.41 -65.46
Pinellas 921 +18.38 -51.19
Hernando 181 -7.18 -70.03