But the differences indicate the hundreds of foreclosure sales that are likely yet to come, Disque said.
In 2009, she noted, when Weaver reported more than 1,000 foreclosures filed, her office counted 361 foreclosed properties that were sold.
"So some of those people from those filings (in 2009) may not have lost their homes yet," Disque said.
A cloudy picture
Tim Henry, president and chief executive officer of Centra Bank in Washington County, said he doesn't know how many foreclosures are still to be filed here.
The "up and down" in the filings in recent months cloud the overall picture, but, Henry said, "I think there's a lot more distressed properties out there that lenders have not even gotten to.
"And, bit by bit, they're working through their files. (But) nothing has changed to improve things dramatically."
He said he thinks the huge presence of distressed properties on the local housing market "is going to be around awhile."
Ironically, Henry sees good news in Disque's report that 11 of the 44 properties sold in Hagerstown in February were lenders' sales of properties they'd had to buy after foreclosure.
"That's not great news, but at least it's moved" those properties off the housing market, Henry said.
"The community's not benefiting from these properties sitting empty," nor from them competing with efforts to sell other houses, he said.
Henry said it's hard to even guess how many mortgages are in trouble because so many companies were in the mortgage business here and elsewhere before all of the trouble hit.
He said Centra Bank is small compared to some lenders in the area.
A top official at one of the largest -- Susquehanna Bank -- didn't return a call for comment for this story.
Housing sales in the county have been on an upswing since last fall. The surge, while still far off 2005's heady pace, has been strengthened by a federal tax credit of up to $8,000 to first-time home buyers.
The local sales increase slowed in February, but real estate agents and Henry, too, think it was that month's big snowstorms -- rather than a stall in the economy -- that are to blame.
The sales total for March is due to be released in the coming week.
Henry said at Centra Bank alone, the month looks to have been a good one for new mortgage applications.
"March ends up being a pretty good month for us," Henry said. "We certainly are not a dominant player here. We have two residential mortgage originators. We're seeing a little bit of uptick. The Realtors we're talking to are signing more (purchase) contracts."
A question for those needing to sell houses or to secure mortgage business is what will happen to demand when the tax credit for first-time home buyers hits its deadline April 30. By then, would-be buyers must have a signed contract, although not necessarily gone to settlement.
Is there enough strength in the economy to carry the housing market?
"We won't know until May," Henry said.
In the meantime, the parade of foreclosure auction ads in the back pages of the newspaper seems unending.
Disque, whose office draws on many sources to track such sales, said she is particularly concerned that an increasing number of them are in Hagerstown.
During 2008, a total of 123 -- or 44 percent -- of the county's 279 foreclosure sales were of properties in the city.
Last year, the city's share also was 44 percent as the overall number of such sales jumped to 159 in the city. In all, there were 361 such sales countywide.
This year, in January and February, such sales not only skyrocketed countywide -- to 72 in January compared to 29 in January 2009 and to 40 in February compared to 22 in February 2009 -- but the city's share now is suddenly more than half.
In January, 41 of the 72 were in Hagerstown, versus 9 of the 29 in January 2009. In February, 21 of the 40 were in the city, versus 9 of the 22 in February 2009.
That surge in sales of distressed properties underlines what the city government already sees as a big problem -- declining property assessments, leading to less property tax revenue as property values fall.
A perfect storm