Nevada leads the nation in foreclosures for the 6lst straight month, while Stockton, Calif., posted the highest metropolitan foreclosure rate, according to market researcher RealtyTrac. The overall foreclosure rate fell 19 percent in January from a year ago but rose 3 percent last month from December, with several states posting sharp increases.

One in every 624 U.S. housing units had a foreclosure filing during January, RealtyTrac said. Nevada led all states with one in every 198 housing units facing a foreclosure filing last month. Other states among the top five included California, with one in every 265 housing units with a foreclosure filing in January; Arizona, one in every 325 housing units; Georgia, one in every 328 housing units; and Michigan, one in every 354 units.

Among cities, California was hardest hit, posting nine out of the nation’s 10 highest foreclosure rates among major metropolitan areas. Top of the list: Stockton, Calif., where one in every 140 housing units had a foreclosure filing in January. It was the fourth month in a row that Stockton had the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate.

Other metros in the top five for foreclosures included Modesto, Calif., where one in every 143 housing units had a foreclosure filing in January; Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., one in every 164 housing units; Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., one in every 168 housing units; and Las Vegas, one in every 172 housing units.

In several states, default notices increased more than 20 percent from last year, according to RealtyTrac, including Connecticut (23 percent increase), Massachusetts (27 percent), Florida (36 percent), Maryland (100 percent) and Pennsylvania (112 percent). That upward trend is likely to continue following a recent $25 billion settlement between mortgage lenders and 49 state attorneys general over foreclosure abuse claims. The settlement is expected to ease a huge foreclosure backlog.