Foreclosure filings were reported on 154,281 U.S. properties – one in every 849 housing units – in February, an increase of 2% from the previous month and a 25% drop from February 2012, according to new data from Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac.
Foreclosure starts increased from the previous month in 32 states and were up from a year ago in 16 states, including Nevada (334%), Maryland (319%), Washington (172%), New York (139%) and New Jersey (70%). However, bank repossessions decreased 11% from the previous month and were down 29% from February 2012 to the lowest level since September 2007. Bank repossessions decreased from the previous month in 32 states and were down from a year ago in 41 states.
Florida posted the nation's highest state foreclosure rate for the sixth consecutive month in February, reporting one in every 282 housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month. Florida cities accounted for seven of the nation's 10 highest metro foreclosure rates in February, led by the Miami, Orlando, Ocala, Tampa and Palm Bay metro areas in the top five spots.
‘At a high level, the U.S. foreclosure inferno has been effectively contained and should be reduced to a slow burn in the next two years,’ says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. ‘But dangerous foreclosure flare-ups are still popping up in states where foreclosures have been delayed by a lengthy court process or by new legislation making it more difficult to foreclose outside of the court system. Foreclosure starts have been steadily building in those states over the last several months and likely will end up as bank repossessions or short sales later this year.’