The best way to look at foreclosures?

MPR’s Annie Baxter highlights the ongoing debate over how many foreclosures there really are in the Twin Cities. It’s an important question for anyone trying to figure out how fast this housing market will really recover.

From Baxter’s story:

RealtyTrac’s numbers indicate the Twin Cities had 29,000 foreclosures last year, up nearly 60 percent from the previous year. But data from Minneapolis-based HousingLink suggest there were half as many foreclosures in ’09 as RealtyTrac shows — roughly 14,000. That represents a drop from 2008. HousingLink surveys all 87 county sheriffs for foreclosure data.

Foreclosures are problems for lots of reasons. They push down home values, of course. For most of us our house is our single biggest asset, the root of American wealth. Every foreclosed home holds a story of a person or family struggling to make it through the recession.

But did we have 29,000 foreclosures in 2009 or half that? The RealtyTrac data’s been used and questioned for the past month.

Post below or drop me a line if you have some insight into the data. Tell me what numbers you trust the most.

Better yet, tell me what the housing market is like around you these days. Better than a year ago?

The reality is that the housing market’s recovery in 2010 will be linked pretty closely to the to Minnesota’s job growth in 2010 and right now the experts are not upbeat about jobs in Minnesota roaring back this year.

That’s likely to keep talk of a Twin Cities housing rebound subdued, no matter the foreclosure count.

2/11 UPDATE: MPR’s Baxter has a story this morning that puts it all into perspective.

Click on the play button below to listen:

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