By "real" foreclosure filings, I am counting property where the trustee submitted the Final report of sale of real property per state law. The national-level tracking firms like realtyTrac count "all types of pre-foreclosure and foreclosure homes...." This tends to inflate the "foreclosure" numbers by including things like property that have a late payment or two but no S-TR or SP filing.
So Wake county foreclosures crept up over 9% in 2008 from 2007 levels. The current foreclosure rate is about what we saw in 2003/2004, the aftermath of the tech meltdown. Not a good level, but not a calamity either. In future entries, I will dive deeper into the numbers and offer a method of predicting future foreclosure rates.
Reference: http://www.realtytrac.com/ Our real estate foreclosure listings include all types of pre-foreclosure and foreclosure homes, from properties in default, which represent possible short sale foreclosure opportunities, to foreclosure auctions, when a notice of sale has been filed against a property, to bank foreclosures — whether the bank has taken back property through a foreclosure sale or through a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
See also http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/stories/2008/02/11/daily23.html - 2/13/2008: RealtyTrac: Raleigh-area foreclosures up 123%. "... RealtyTrac's numbers contrast with official figures provided by the state. Those numbers say Wake County saw foreclosures increase in 2007, but only by 20 percent."