Foreclosure filings were reported on 101,938 U.S. properties in February – a decrease of 4% compared to January and a decrease of 9% compared to February 2014 to reach the lowest level since July 2006 – according to RealtyTrac.
Foreclosure starts were also down in February: Foreclosure proceedings were commenced on 48,079 properties – down 5% compared to January and down 7% compared to a year ago – according to the firm's U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.
‘Given that August 2006 was the peak of the housing bubble, this eight-and-a-half-year low in foreclosure activity is a significant milestone and a sign that nationwide foreclosure activity is on track to return to historic norms this year – and is possibly even headed below historic norms given the skinny-jeans-tight lending standards over the past five years,’ says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, in a statement. ‘In markets where foreclosures were processed more efficiently, we are seeing foreclosure numbers now below pre-crisis levels in some cases.
‘Conversely, the cleanup of deferred distress is continuing in markets where a logjam of in-limbo foreclosures is still lingering from the housing crisis – as evidenced by rebounding foreclosure activity in those markets,’ he adds.
Although things are improving, 24 states posted a year-over-year increase in overall foreclosure activity in February, including Massachusetts (up 53%) and New York (up 19%).
Nationwide, 45,880 properties were scheduled for a future foreclosure auction in February, down 13% from January and down 4% from a year ago, to reach the lowest level since July 2006.
Still, 25 states posted a year-over-year increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions, including New York (up 146%), Massachusetts (up 88%), New Jersey (up 38%) and Washington (up 17%).
Bank repossessions were completed on 24,305 properties in February, up 9% from January but down 20% from a year ago. February was the 27th consecutive month where repossessions nationwide decreased on an annual basis.
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