|While new foreclosure filings and completed foreclosures were lower for the nation as a whole last month, Florida saw significant deterioration. The Sunshine State had more foreclosures completed than any other state.
The number of U.S. residential properties that were hit with a foreclosure filing during February was 206,900. Filings included notices of default and Lis Pendens; notices of trustee's sale and notices of foreclosure sale; and real-estate-owned filings.
Activity was down from 210,941 foreclosures in January.
Foreclosures also fell from February 2011, when 225,101 properties faced a filing. February 2012 marked the 17th consecutive year-over-year improvement.
The numbers were released Thursday by RealtyTrac, which based its findings on data culled from 2,200 U.S. counties. The foreclosure listing service said that despite the ongoing improvement, "February's numbers point to a gradually rising foreclosure tide as some of the barriers that have been holding back foreclosures are removed."
During the first two months of 2012, the total amounted to 417,841 -- though some of the same properties might have had a filing during both months.
The number of California residences to be hit with a filing fell from January's 51,584 to last month's 48,422 -- more than any other state.
But the total deteriorated in Florida, climbing to 26,337 from 24,783.
No. 3 was Illinois, where 13,298 foreclosures were filed, then 12,356 in Georgia and 10,467 in Michigan.
Just 16 filings were made in North Dakota, the fewest of any state.
One out of every 637 U.S. housing units had a filing in February, improving slightly from a one-in-624 rate a month earlier and better than February 2011's rate of one-in-577.
Although Nevada's rate was worst at one-in-278, the state saw a big improvement from one filing for each 198 properties during January.
Next was Arizona's one-in-312 rate, then Georgia's one filing for each 331 properties and the one-in-341 rate in Florida.
North Dakota had a rate of one filing for each 19,844 housing units -- the best of all states.
Completed U.S. foreclosures numbered 63,834 last month, fewer than the 66,542 REO filings the previous month. Repossessions amounted to 64,643 during the same month last year.
Year-to-date Feb. 29, REO filings totaled 130,376.
With 9,023 completed foreclosures in February, Florida bumped California from the No. 1 spot. Florida's repossessions jumped from 7,607 during the prior month.
The Golden State, meanwhile, saw 8,544 foreclosures completed, dropping from 10,064.
After that was Georgia's 5,299 REO filings, Michigan's 4,837 and Texas' 4,099.
All of North Dakota's 16 foreclosure filings were REOs, landing the state in the 50th spot.