Foreclosures rise 6%

Mar 11, 2010

According to data released by RealtyTrac, foreclosures increased 6% from the year-ago level in February; this is the smallest annual increase in 4 years. Over 308,000 households with loans received a foreclosure filing in February; this was a drop of over 2% from January. Analysts say the drop in foreclosure rate does not necessarily mean that homeowners are seeing any better times.

This leveling of the foreclosure trend is not necessarily evidence that fewer homeowners are in distress and at risk for foreclosure, but rather that foreclosure prevention programs, legislation and other processing delays are in effect capping monthly foreclosure activity, said James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac Chief Executive Officer.

Nevada saw the highest foreclosure rate in February with 1 in 102 households receiving a filing. Nevada was followed by Arizona, Florida, California and Michigan. Can we expect to see a further drop in foreclosure in the coming months? "It's premature to declare victory just yet," said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president for RealtyTrac.

But given the negative home equity (over 25% of mortgage holders are currently underwater) prevailing in the housing market, tightening of lending norms by banks, unemployment and declining incomes, homeowners are unable to take advantage of the fall in mortgage rates

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