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Completed Foreclosures Down, New Filings Up

Completed foreclosures fell to a multiyear low. But total filings turned higher, as did new filings. Florida has emerged as a persistent problem.

Mortgage servicers made foreclosures filings on 154,281 U.S. properties during February.

Filings included defaults, including notices of default and Lis Pendens; auctions, including notices of trustee’s sale and notices of foreclosure sale; and real estate owned filings.

Foreclosures worsened from 150,864 in January but improved from 206,900 in February 2012.

“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,” RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in the report. “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.”

Florida topped the list last month with 31,726 properties in the Sunshine State hit with a filing. Florida foreclosures worsened from 29,800 in January.

No. 2 California saw filings slip to 18,003 from the previous month’s 18,093.

Next were 12,671 filings in Illinois, 10,553 foreclosures in Ohio and 6,263 Michigan filings.

North Dakota’s two filings were the fewest of any state.

The country saw 71,488 new foreclosures initiated last month, worsening from the previous month’s 64,773.

The U.S. foreclosure rate deteriorated to one filing for each 849 housing units from the January rate of one foreclosure for each 869 homes.

The rate improved, however, from one out of every 637 housing units in February 2012.

With a filing on each 282 housing units, Florida’s rate was the worst. Florida’s rate deteriorated from one-in-300 the prior month. Seven of the 10-worst metropolitan areas in the country were in Florida. The rate in Miami, one-in-219, was the worst of any area with at least 200,000 people.

Nevada traded places with Florida, slipping to the No. 2 position with a one-in-320 rate.

After that was one-in 417 in Illinois, one-in-485 in Ohio and one-in-656 in Washington.

Just one foreclosure filing was made on each 157,759 housing units in North Dakota — the best rate in the nation.

Servicers completed 45,038 foreclosures in February, falling from 50,453 a month earlier and bringing year-to-date activity to 95,491. A year earlier, 63,834 foreclosures were completed.

Last month’s repossessions were the fewest in 65 months.

Florida’s 8,108 repossessions were the most of any state but fewer than the 9,073 previously reported for January.

California had 4,380 completed foreclosures, followed by Illinois’ 3,282, Ohio’s 3,267 and Michigan’s 3,266.

North Dakota’s two real-estate-owned filings were the fewest of any state.

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