SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The foreclosure picture across the U.S. and the Bay Area is showing some signs of dramatic improvement. According to foreclosure database RealtyTrac, 14 out of the last 15 months have seen a drop in Bay Area foreclosures.

The database’s Vice President Daren Bloomquist said on a statewide level, April foreclosures were down 30 percent compared to the same month last year. Nationwide, he said rates were at their lowest since July of 2007.

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One trend he said is that lenders are increasingly agreeing to do short sales instead of foreclosures.

“Let the homeowners sell the property for less than what they owe, in effect kind of forgiving part of the mortgage,” Bloomquist said describing the trend.

KCBS’ Janice Wright Reports:

He added that it’s better for both the market and the neighborhoods.

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“They get a new homeowner in that property right away. A homeowner who is taking care of the property, mowing the lawn,” he said, adding that it cuts down on foreclosure ghost towns.

Another research firm said Thursday that an increase in April home prices in the San Francisco Bay area is the region’s first annual gain in nearly two years.

DataQuick said Thursday that the median price for new and existing houses and condominiums in a nine-county region was $390,000 last month, up more than 8 percent from a year earlier. It is the first annual increase since September 2010.

April sales soared more than 13 percent from last year to nearly 7,700 homes.

DataQuick says buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines are moving to take advantage of lower prices and low lending rates.

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