Foreclosure rates fell again in May as part of a three-months long improvement, according to the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Foreclosures represented about 35 percent of existing home transactions in May, compared with 43 percent in January. That fell to 38 percent in March and 36 percent in April. The trend may not last, foreclosure report author Jay Butler said in a statement.

"Although the number of foreclosure pre-filings has been declining for the last several months, this trend is not unusual in the early part of any year, with a typical pickup over the next few months," said Jay Butler, associate professor of real estate. "While any decline is positive, fundamental uncertainty remains as to whether foreclosures will cease to be the dominant force in the market."

More than 3,500 foreclosures occurred in the Valley this May, up from 3,200 a year ago. When foreclosures are added with resales of previously foreclosed properties, they totaled up to 61 percent of activity in May.

The median price for existing homes resold in May was $125,000. That compares with $144,000 in May 2010.

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