August Foreclosure Update (with Charts)

As a follow-up to last Friday’s foreclosure news, let’s take a look at a couple charts of local foreclosures.

I contacted the folks at RealtyTrac to request historical foreclosure data for the Seattle area, and they were kind enough to provide me with their foreclosure data for King + Snohomish counties going back to April 2005. Here’s a long-term chart:

Total King / Snohomish Foreclosures
Click to enlarge

You can see that since July’s data showing 1,030 homes in some state of foreclosure (Default, Auction, or REO), we have been in uncharted post-2005 territory. August’s 1,185 foreclosures pushed even further into record highs.

Here’s a chart comparing the foreclosures for each month:

King / Snohomish Foreclosures by Month
Click to enlarge

We had a couple big spikes in November and December last year, then early this year things seemed to settle down close to 06-07 levels. But since June foreclosures have been noticeably shooting up.

Now that I’ve got this historical data as a basis, these will probably enter the rotation of graphs that are updated monthly.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

47 comments:

  1. 1
    david losh says:

    “As we all know, lax lending practices earlier this decade led to irresponsible lending and irresponsible borrowing. This simply put too many families into mortgages they could not afford,” Paulson said.

    Banks would prefer to take properties back and hold them on the books rather than modify loans, or sell at deep discounts. That is true. Selling or modifying loans creates write downs no lender wants to take. The old take cash to reinvest is over, we’re in a declining market.

    This whole process has been extremely unfair and bail outs will kill the economy. Lenders should be forced to deal with the loans they made. Taking the asset is what is now causing the crisis.

    When people, the consumers, have nothing to show for the money they paid, they will be less likely to be consumers. We have a consumer based economy.

    Credit has driven up the price of everything. Wages have stayed about the same so where did the money come from to expand the economy? Credit, credit cards, consumer credit, turned into second mortgages, and home refinances. Now banks are taking over inflated assets that they will hold on the books until the tax payers agree to pay.

    Of course the foreclosure rate is soaring. Banks want those assets for the books.

  2. 2
    Hinten says:

    Yes, but the foreclosed homes are being bought up, at least in California.

    Ok, I can’t get the URL in here (HTML challenged):
    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D939E5SO0

  3. 3
    david losh says:

    When you read the article keep in mind that it talks about foreclosure plagued California. Many builders took extreme hits to unload properties. Speculators were the first to take losses that they knew were better than what the future will bring. Lenders included in that sell off are now holding a collective breath to see what other dollars the government will give them.
    It’s the amount of foreclosures that are driving that market.

  4. 4
    Marc says:

    Any year over year comparisons based on foreclosure data from April 2005 forward is probably worthless as an indicator, in and of itself, of where we’re headed. That is to say, the number of foreclosures during ’05, ’06, and most of ’07 are probably as low as they’ve ever been in Washington given the fact that nearly anybody could sell nearly anything in virtually no time at all during that period of time, thus, the foreclosure numbers were likely to be unusually low.

    In my humble opinion “data … going back to April 2005” is not sufficiently “long-term” to be all that useful. Interesting, yes; useful, no.

  5. 5
    Gene says:

    I’d have to agree with Marc. From 2005 till recently with prices rising, very few people would be underwater unless either they had some sort of emergency, or were in a mortgage they could not afford from the start. It would be a lot more interesting to see at least the early to mid 90s forward to get an idea of what the “normal” foreclosure market looks like.

    There also isn’t really enough data to see if this is a slow rise to that more normal level, or if it’s “shooting up” above it…

  6. 6

    SEATTLE FORECLOSURES IN 2008 GOING THROUGH THE ROOF

    Tim, your purple bars trend from Jan-Aug 2008 are horifyingly increasing month to month. Its a trendline that is totally out of control for Seattle.

    Why isn’t the media on top of this critical news story??????????????

  7. 7
    The Tim says:

    I agree with those of you saying that data from further back than April 2005 would be much better to compare actual historical trends. Unfortunately, this is the only historical data on foreclosures I have been able to locate. If anyone has a suggestion for where to get foreclosure information further back, I’m all ears.

  8. 8
    Marc says:

    My only suggestion is impractical for a single or small number of people to assemble. But, an entity like RealtyTrac could theoretically do it with a larger staff. You could pull all of the trustee deeds recorded at each county and use them to track backwards for recorded Notices of Trustee Sale. This would provide the data for how many borrowers fell into default and how many actually lost their homes.

    The counties around Puget Sound have really good online records (at least compared to many other parts of the country), so this wouldn’t seem to be all that difficult. Just monotonous and time consuming.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if RealtyTrac or somebody like them doesn’t already have this project underway as it would improve the value of their data.

  9. 9
    explorer says:

    http://www.foreclosures.com/stats/

    Fee-based historical reports

    http://www.foreclosureforum.com/stats.html

    Has has historicial stats for San Diego County (may be relevant for Seattle too)

    http://ca.rand.org/stats/economics/foreclose.html

    Has stats up to 2002 from Calif. Assn. of Realtors

  10. 10
    maverick says:

    Geez doomers, still dooming hard eh? Didn’t you hear, The US gov’t are bailing out financial markets and buying mortgages from banks? The housing bottom is here. Cheers to yah all!

  11. 11
    Thomas B. says:

    Maverick? Nice handle (i.e. CB radio name… CB radio being the redneck cell phone).

    Anyway… $3.2 Billion Dollars worth of DOOM. I’m referring to the budget shortfall in Washington State. That’s a lot of lost value in housing.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    victorchai says:

    The United Socialist States of America.

    HA HA HA HA, too damned funny. Shrubbo and his little band of neo-con idiots are now turning us into the most socialistic nation in the Western Hemisphere. Even more-so than Venezuela and Cuba, we now have Government ownership of the banking and insurance sectors.

    So much for a legacy Georgie, all we need to do is add a hammer and sickle to the flag and we’ll be all set.

  14. 14
    jonasb says:

    how do you think the bailout will affect housing prices? i personally hope that this won’t directly “bail out” those who over extended themselves… we have been waiting for a chance to buy at a more affordable price, i hope we’ll still get that chance within the next 2 years.

  15. 15
    John says:

    victorchai, the Democrats are going along with the plan too. The government did the same thing in 1980s.

    “In the late 1980s, the government created the Resolution Trust Corporation to tackle the savings and loan crisis. It acquired the defaulted mortgages, foreclosed real estate and other assets of nearly a thousand failed S&Ls, restoring order and stability to the system. Resolving that crisis took six years and $125 billion in taxpayer money — roughly equal to $200 billion in today’s dollars.”

  16. 16
    victorchai says:

    John // Sep 19, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    victorchai, the Democrats are going along with the plan too. The government did the same thing in 1980s.

    “In the late 1980s, the government created the Resolution Trust Corporation to tackle the savings and loan crisis. It acquired the defaulted mortgages, foreclosed real estate and other assets of nearly a thousand failed S&Ls, restoring order and stability to the system. Resolving that crisis took six years and $125 billion in taxpayer money — roughly equal to $200 billion in today’s dollars.”

    Then how about 1 tril,which may cost over 1.6 …

  17. 17
    SeaPilot says:

    Since the government will own the paper, and will want to prop up their value; 50 Year mortgages anyone?

  18. 18
    richie says:

    John

    You were right but Fed did not take over S&L until they were taken over by then FSLIC. In the process, the shareholders were wiped out and executives were prosecuted. Ironically, WaMu was the only thrift stood tall because then former executives stuck to the basic.

    This time Bush Administration is thinking to set up a toxic landfill that is allowed the financial institutions to dump their toxic assets. Another problem is that in the old days, RTC knew exact amount of assets (houses, buildings) and liabilities (bad mortgage, default notes; this time the financial engineers from Lehman, AIG created intricate derivatives (futures, forwards, options and Swaps) that derivate their values from the underlying toxic assets or other derivatives. They will not cease until the settlement dates. They cannot be disposed because you must find new suckers to become counterparties. Many of those derivatives are de facto insurance policies for insuring the credit worthies of underlying bonds and financial institutions like Lehman, Freddie, Fannie and WaMu. Sometimes they issued derivatives on other derivatives or re-insurance of other insurance policies. You have to twist your brain to figure them out. I bet even Lehman’s CEO or WaMu’s former CEO had no idea of the exact amount of contingent liabilities.

    I doubt that Uncle Sam will redeem any pennies from the trust of toxic assets.

  19. 19
    richie says:

    Warren Buffet said derivatives were Financial Weapon of Mass Destructions in March 2003. I admire his vision of foreseeing the catastrophe that would happened five years later. Our government did not pay attention or simply imbecilic and let the greedy financial engineers bury road side mass-destructive bombs in the Wall Street and the main streets.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/2817995.stm

    Our national debt is $9.7 trillion. We still have hundreds of billions of dollars annual budget deficits. The bail-out money will not come from your and my tax dollars. It will come from issuing additional treasury bills, notes and bonds. Chinese, Saudi and Russians are buying US bills notes and bonds because of their huge trade surplus against US.

    Another $300 billion on top of the old debt of $9.7 trillion is just slightly over 3%.

  20. 20
    david losh says:

    In a discussion the other day a gentleman said the Democrats were to blame for this mess.
    In my opinion the Bush administration was lookig for a robust economy to counter terrorism in the world. I believe the administration surrounding George Bush thought they could create a war economy by attacking Iraq. The resulting control of oil stocks would off set the cost of rebuilding infrastructure which Vice President Dick Cheney assured the President and Congress we could do.
    There was a problem and global back lash.
    The Fed had already started a plan to infuse cash into the credit markets. In my opinion I think that could have worked to enhance a more global economy. The Bush Administration siezed on that credit infusion as a solution to a faltering economy being bogged down in a war. I think the administration felt they had to “win” or at least look like they were winning something. It just got out of control by deregulating too many things to list here.
    The economy, in particular the global economy, became very important. We are exporting our way of life. Now that it’s done we have to fix that.

  21. 21
    Angie says:

    At #15 John wrote,

    The government did the same thing in 1980s.

    “In the late 1980s, the government created the Resolution Trust Corporation to tackle the savings and loan crisis. It acquired the defaulted mortgages, foreclosed real estate and other assets of nearly a thousand failed S&Ls, restoring order and stability to the system. Resolving that crisis took six years and $125 billion in taxpayer money — roughly equal to $200 billion in today’s dollars.”

    That’s right–the late 1980s, well into the Reagan years, and not coincidentally the last time that the American people were foolish enough to let the foxes guard the henhouse.

    Don’t you dare try to lay the blame for this kind of crap on the Democrats. This is ever and always the consequence of laissez-faire, supply-side, shareholder-value, trickle-down, voodoo-economic, big-business-loving Republican policies. Happened in the 20s, happened in the 80s, happening now. Democrats are involved only insofar as cleaning up the mess.

    The great Depression was severe enough to get the US Govt to keep the Republican brand of yahoo in check for a few generations, leveling the playing field enough to allow the truly unprecendented widespread prosperity of midcentury America. I’m hoping that the next leaders of the United States kick enough a$$ and take enough names so that the worse of the current mess subsides by the time my kids are adults.

  22. 22
    Thomas B. says:

    The government is just going to take all the properties that go into foreclosure and hold on to it. They will use the land for public projects or road/mass transit projects or they will lease the land out to renters. The government will use the rents like taxes and raise the rent price when the government needs more money. Nationalized real property is the new reality.

  23. 23
    jon says:

    Don’t you dare try to lay the blame for this kind of crap on the Democrats. This is ever and always the consequence of laissez-faire, supply-side, shareholder-value, trickle-down, voodoo-economic, big-business-loving Republican policies. Happened in the 20s, happened in the 80s, happening now. Democrats are involved only insofar as cleaning up the mess.

    Reagan inherited a giant mess of an economy and it took several years to get things straightened out. Take a look at the write-up here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savings_and_loan_crisis for how it grew out of the inflation of the 1970s. As for the 20s, that was a boom time caused by the introduction of the electric motor into industry. There was also over-leveraging, just as in the 80s and recently. Each time we learned more about how clever people are in making a buck and passing the cost on to the taxpayers when their mess threatens to destroy the economy. That kind of behavior is not confined to one party or the other if you look at history in a more objective manner.

  24. 24
    Angie says:

    Yep, go ahead and read that Wikipedia article. The takeaway message is: financial institutions were losing money in the late 70s because–what do you know?–sometimes market conditions aren’t in banks’ favor. In the Reagan Era rules were relaxed and changed to try to tilt the playing field more in the financial institutions’ favor, which ultimately blew up, and taxpayers ended up paying the bill.

    Typical Republican ploy. Privatize gains, socialize losses. Preach that you’re fiscally conservative while running up record deficits (also a Reagan legacy).

  25. 25
    jon says:

    “Typical Republican ploy. Privatize gains, socialize losses. Preach that you’re fiscally conservative while running up record deficits (also a Reagan legacy).”

    To me the difference seems to be that Democrats are willing to “privatize gains, socialize losses” at the individual as well as the corporate level. The natural Republican position would be to let the companies fail, laissez-faire style, but that turned out to be a hard road in the early 30s, so the willingness to gut that out is gone now. The typical criticism of Republicans is too much military spending, which comes down to how you want to approach national security. Granted, there is too much spending on both sides, but people get what they vote for.

  26. 26
    david losh says:

    The Reagan Era rules!
    Reagan was a great president. The speech I remember best was when he went on national television to show the federal budget. It was stacked on a table and the table collapsed. Without missing a beat he looked at the camera to say, “we didn’t plan that.” True or not the size of the budget was huge. He refused to sign it more than once, he asked for the line item veto which no body wanted to give to any individual.
    He initiated the Grace Commission and reported the $400 hammer item. His Voo Doo economics turned the budget around. He went after spending while lowering taxes. You have to do both. If you cut taxes you have to cut spending. It was the spending cuts he initiated that lead to a Clinton budget surplus.
    Bush senior wanted to play politics as usual, Clinton was smart enough to follow the plan. Clinton asked for spending cuts and was able to use Reagan as the example.
    For a few short years we had the most bipartisan support for the economy I can remember. Clinton also outlined a theme of global economy for the future.
    Bush Junior just played politics.

  27. 27
    Angie says:

    Yeah, good ol’ take-responsibility Reagan. I believe he was the one who popularized the phrase “Mistakes were made.” Gosh, once upon a time presidents used to say “The buck stops here.”

    people get what they vote for Truer words have never been spoken. At least we found one thing we can agree on!

  28. 28
    Markor says:

    david losh: It was the spending cuts he initiated that lead to a Clinton budget surplus.

    I’m confident that 8 years is long enough for a president to create a budget surplus. Reagan had 8 years to make a difference, but during his administration the the federal deficit exploded, and the debt increase was accelerating when Clinton took over. Also the executive branch writes the budget, so that table-breaking budget was Reagan’s doing.

  29. 29
    david losh says:

    Silverado Savings and Loan collapsed in 1988, costing taxpayers $1.3 billion. Neil Bush, son of then Vice President of the United States George H. W. Bush, was Director of Silverado at the time. Neil Bush was accused of giving himself a loan from Silverado, but he denied all wrongdoing.[2]

    The US Office of Thrift Supervision investigated Silverado’s failure and determined that Neil Bush had engaged in numerous “breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest.” Although Bush was not indicted on criminal charges, a civil action was brought against him and the other Silverado directors by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; it was eventually settled out of court, with Bush paying $50,000 as part of the settlement, the Washington Post reported.[10]

    As a director of a failing thrift, Bush voted to approve $100 million in what were ultimately bad loans to two of his business partners. And in voting for the loans, he failed to inform fellow board members at Silverado Savings & Loan that the loan applicants were his business partners.[citation needed]

    Neil Bush paid a $50,000 fine and was banned from banking activities for his role in taking down Silverado, which cost taxpayers $1.3 billion. A Resolution Trust Corporation Suit against Bush and other officers of Silverado was settled in 1991 for $26.5 million.

  30. 30
    Markor says:

    Angie: The great Depression was severe enough to get the US Govt to keep the Republican brand of yahoo in check for a few generations, leveling the playing field enough to allow the truly unprecendented widespread prosperity of midcentury America.

    Yep, and for my children’s sake I hope history repeats itself with this next depression. In the 1928 election there were 43 red states. In 1932, there were 6. In 1936, there were only 2!

  31. 31
    david losh says:

    The Budget of the United States Government is a federal document that the President submits to the U.S. Congress.
    After Congress approves an appropriations bill, it is sent to the President, who may sign it into law, or may veto it.
    The budget came back with appropriations.
    Reagan asked for, called for, and advocated for, the line item veto. He was forced on more than one occasion to veto the entire budget.
    In Reagan’s era there was bipartisan bickering, like in any administration. The difference for Clinton was that he invoked Reagan’s name to quell Republican objections. If cutting the budget was good enough for Reagan it’s good enough for everybody.
    The term got to be the “Reagan Legacy” that needed to be preserved. Smaller government means less spending, doesn’t it?

  32. 32
    Markor says:

    jonasb: how do you think the bailout will affect housing prices? i personally hope that this won’t directly “bail out” those who over extended themselves… we have been waiting for a chance to buy at a more affordable price, i hope we’ll still get that chance within the next 2 years.

    Highly likely this bailout will not affect house prices. It’s just a taxpayer-funded dumpster for banks’ losses, so the CEOs can still get huge bonuses. Bush said “I represent the haves and the have mores”. No one else.

  33. 33
    Markor says:

    david losh: Reagan asked for, called for, and advocated for, the line item veto. He was forced on more than one occasion to veto the entire budget.

    Except where his veto on the budget is overridden, Reagan is responsible for the massive budget deficits that were created when he had the power to reduce or stop them.

    When my kids ask for ice cream for dinner, I’m responsible if they get ice cream for dinner. Not them.

  34. 34
    david losh says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget

    He never had that power. Only Congress has the power to reduce the budget. Congress can come back with a balanced budget every time. It’s been discussed, never approved. It
    This mess was Bush’s doing, no question. There is no Democrat vs Republican fix to the budget. Every one needs to agree. That’s what Clinton got with the Reagan Legacy.

    We all forget that the balanced budget amendment was pushed during the Reagan years and ended with the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. It was repealed at state and local levels before being scrapped.
    Reagan tried, he had a Republican Congress, and they tried, but not too hard. Congress wants pet projects. Presidents come and go but a Senator or Congress person is there as long as they can bring home the money.

  35. 35
    Markor says:

    Never had what power? No money can be spent without the president’s signature or a veto override. That makes the president responsible for any budget deficit, except where a veto is overridden.

  36. 36

    “Reagan was a great president.’

    If you were a large shareholder in a major corporation, sure, but supply side economics didn’t really work.
    Corporate profits were way up in real terms in the decade of the 1980’s( about 60%), but real wages were flat, and the savings rate for households did not increase.
    Reagan was a very likable President, and had a great sense of humor, but he was no friend of working people.

  37. 37
    Mikal says:

    One of two things is about to happen. Incredible inflation or deflation. For the record, 90% of the debt this coutry accumulted in 200 plus years can be laid at the feet of Reagan and both Bush’s. Junior has expanded government by more than twenty percent. How can any Republican not be embarressed by this spending? I’m a Republican and the Democrats today are much more conservative in spending than Republican’s. I had a political chat with some guy in a bar here in Minnesota and all he could talk about was losing his guns to a Democratic president. What an idiot. Some of what is happening on Wall Street is that deficits on a national level DO matter.

  38. 38
    Markor says:

    Cheney asserts that the VP’s office is not part of any branch of gov’t, therefore not accountable to the law. With everything else that’s happened, it’s obvious that Republicans are an extreme threat to the country.

  39. 39
    Angie says:

    Good grief. From that article:

    This summer, Cheney chief of staff David Addington told Congress the vice president belongs to neither the executive nor legislative branch of government, but rather is attached by the Constitution to Congress. The vice president presides over the Senate.

    Hasn’t Cheney claimed “executive privilege” to keep from releasing information about the workings of his office? IIRC that was how he tried to protect details of his meetings with oil company execs shortly after Bush/Cheney first took office, and even such mundane things as logs of who visited his office?

    Also, this entry on metafilter, the links embedded therein, and the ensuing discussion might be of interest to folks following the back-and-forth from yesterday.

  40. 40
    Robert Wojciechowski says:

    I have a question – would it be a problem if the govt stepped in and just gave complete bailouts to everybody facing foreclosure. So the govt would basically help all distressed homeowners.

    Normally it would mean lots of inflation. But here – the houses were already built and people are already living in them. They don’t have the means to pay them back. By paying off the loans we are not increasing disposable income for those people and thus we are not increasing inflation.

    The only thing this will do is to make real estate prices stable. And maybe people who slaved hard to repay their loans will feel bitter but that’s all. Maybe also some people will feel bitter who will not be able to afford expensive housing.

    But this will kind of cool things down. The treasury can print as much money as needed. They can also start doing all kinds of tax deductions for distressed homeowners.

  41. 41
    david losh says:

    Reagan did refuse to sign the budget more than once. The protests were deafening.
    He cut spending across the board, advocated states to take more responsibility for social programs, and increased military spending. All of those things put in place the ability to have have a robust economy.
    The American people are still complaining about it.
    Clinton is a brilliant politician. He took what was given to him and built on it. Bush senior did nothing to address spending in the budget only asked for more taxes.
    Today Bush junior is asking Congress to bail him out. He spent our money to create the illusion of an economy. His war plan was to spend as much money as he could. Bombing the infrastructure of a country we were going to invade had to be deliberate. He wanted to spend our money to create jobs. When that didn’t work he deregulated as much as he could and encouraged massive consumer spending.
    It was a race of who would spend more, the government or consumers. Now everybody has debt, even the responsible ones among us.
    Our government is asking you for money today. When you give it to them they are going to give it to corporations who have shown they will spend the money foolishly. That seems like a bad idea.
    Corporations have gotten to be as large as governments, maybe bigger. They have formed alliances across borders, governments refuse to.
    For $700 billion dollars we could build strong economies in the entire world. Let the developed countries that are trading paper today hang. It’s paper. It’s just paper.
    Corporations should deal with the business they created. They need to deal with the consumer loans they made, sold, and traded.
    Business is business, and business is war. You fight to win or die. Let ’em die.

  42. 42
    LUC says:

    From Bloomberg: Treasury Seeks Asset-Buying Power Unchecked by Courts (Update2)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601068&sid=acVoMK3FiuqQ&refer=home

  43. 43

    FEDERAL BUDGET 2009

    Beginning on Oct 1, 2008 the fiscal 2009 year starts for the federal government and we already have a budget ready that excludes the $1 trillion entity bailout. When do we start funding the $1 triilion bailout, if ever?

    My honest guess is never. Its all a phony front to prop up the stock market until election day…..face it, without mass cuts in federal medical, school funding, entitlements, infrastructure, etc, etc…..we can’t afford it folks. Its that simple.

  44. 44
    Alan says:

    Reagan was a big spender.

    http://www.mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=488

    In 1980, Jimmy Caner’s last year as president, the federal government spent a whopping 27.9% of “national income” (an obnoxious term for the private wealth produced by the American people). Reagan assaulted the free-spending Carter administration throughout his campaign in 1980. So how did the Reagan administration do? At the end of the first quarter of 1988, federal spending accounted for 28.7% of “national income.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/10/mccain-ill-cut-deficits-l_n_96011.html

    McCain: I’ll Cut Deficits Like Reagan (Who Tripled The Deficit)

  45. 45
    david losh says:

    Sorry Reagan and Clinton are the two best Presidents I can remember.
    One complimented the other and the other way around.
    I seriously think Clinton would be just another buffoon and Reagan the same without the work each man did.
    It gives me a lot of faith in our system of government.
    Bush, is a problem.
    Today’s problem is a Bush thing, by himself, no help from anybody.

  46. 46

    […] are definitely on the rise here in the Seattle area, but things probably aren’t as dire as KING 5 is making it sound with this re-run […]

  47. 47

    […] I posted August foreclosure data from RealtyTrac last month with data going back to 2005, a complaint was aired (which I agreed with) that 2005-2008 is not […]

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