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REOs Surge

290,631 foreclosure filings in February reported by RealtyTrac

March 12, 2009

By staff

The number of loans that faced foreclosure last month was the third highest on record, while repossessions shot up by more than half from last year, the latest foreclosure report indicates. Idaho made its debut as one of the five worst states.

During February, foreclosure filings were made on 290,631 properties, RealtyTrac reported today. Filings jumped from 274,399 the prior month and 223,651 during February 2008. Through the end of February, this year's total filings were 565,030.

RealtyTrac said the increase in foreclosure filings -- which included default notices, auction sale notices and repossessions -- was surprising given all of the prevention efforts and moratoria in place last month.

The Golden State saw more filings than any other: 80,775. After California was Florida, where filings were made on 46,391 properties, followed by Arizona, with 18,119 filings made. No. 4 Nevada faced 15,783 filings, and Illinois saw foreclosure actions on 14,218 properties.

At just 11 foreclosure filings, Vermont was the lowest of all states.

February's foreclosure rate was one filing for every 440 U.S. properties -- or 0.227 percent. The rate worsened from one foreclosure on each 466 households in January and one filing for every 557 households a year earlier.

Nevada's foreclosure rate of one filing for each 70 households was the worst, followed by Arizona, where one in 147 households faced a foreclosure notice. California was No. 3, with one filing for each 165 households, then Florida, which had a filing for every 188 households.

Idaho, which has rarely surfaced among states with foreclosure problems, was No. 5 with one filing made on each 358 households. The activity contrasts with a May 2008 report from CoreLogic that mentioned Idaho as one of two states "with enough appreciation momentum -- driven by cyclical industries -- to overcome these inflationary pressures."

At the other end of the spectrum was Nebraska, where only one in 60,062 borrowers faced a foreclosure filing last month.

The Las Vegas area had the worst foreclosure rate of any large metropolitan area, with one filing made then Stockton, Calif. -- where foreclosure activity occurred on one in every 67 households -- was the third worst rate.

U.S. REO filings, which are including in total foreclosure filings, were 74,095 during February, rising from the prior month's 66,777 and the prior year's 46,508. Year-to-date 2009, 140,872 REOs have been filed.

Repossessions were highest in California, where 18,872 REOs were reported. Florida followed with 5,972, and Arizona, at 5,858. Michigan was next, with 4,726 REOs, and No. 5 was Texas, which saw 4,565 foreclosures completed.

With just two REOs, South Dakota had the fewest of any state.

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