After having many quarters of artificially low rates of new foreclosures, she said, Maryland may be getting back in step with reality.

Nationally, Brinkmann said, new foreclosure starts are flat, an indicator that the effects of the recession are no longer weighing significantly on mortgage delinquencies. Any new increases would reflect real-time increases in unemployment and a slowdown in the creation of new jobs, Brinkmann said.

"In some ways, we're back to the fundamental driving factors that would have driven [foreclosure] prior to the recession," Brinkmann said.

Still, Brinkmann said he did not expect foreclosures to drop precipitously during the current quarter.

"My guess is that you'll see something of a decline going forward but Maryland still has a fairly sizable backlog to work through," he said. "That's going to keep some of those numbers elevated going forward."

"Housing is very much tied to the employment numbers," Brinkmann added. "Until we see some pickup in jobs creation, until we see the unemployment rate … begin heading back down in a meaningful way, we really can't expect fundamental improvement in the housing market."

In one bright spot for Maryland, fewer homeowners were 90 or more days behind on their mortgages in the second quarter than in the first quarter of the year.

The state's lower mortgage delinquency rate indicates a backlog was responsible for the high rate of foreclosure filings — "not a fundamental change in the housing economics," Brinkmann said.

Raymond Skinner, Maryland's secretary of housing and community development, agrees with Brinkmann's assessment. Home prices and sales rates have been increasing, he said.

"Overall, we truly believe that the fundamental economics of Maryland's housing market really remains strong," Skinner said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jamie Smith Hopkins contributed to this article.

steve.kilar@baltsun.com

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Top states for new foreclosures during the second quarter

Maryland led the nation in the rate of foreclosure starts during the second quarter of 2012. In Maryland, about 20 of every 1,000 home loans went into foreclosure during April, May and June. Nationally, the figure was roughly 10 per 1,000.

StatePercent of mortgages entering foreclosure in second quarter

Maryland1.95

Florida/Georgia1.48

Nevada1.31

Arizona/Mississippi1.22

Illinois1.20

Rhode Island/Michigan1.11

Ohio1.09

Washington/National Average0.96

Alabama0.95

Source: Mortgage Bankers Association