The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Breaking News

March 15, 2013

Sharp drop in US homes lost to foreclosure in February

LOS ANGELES — While the nation's foreclosure woes persist, new data show they're easing amid a resurgent housing market, rising home prices and efforts by some states to buy homeowners more time to avoid losing their homes.

The number of U.S. homes repossessed by lenders last month fell 11 percent from January and declined 29 percent from February last year, tumbling to the lowest level since September 2007, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

Some states continued to see sharp increases in homes lost to foreclosure last month, including Washington, Wisconsin and Iowa. But home repossessions declined both on an annual and monthly basis in a majority of states, including past foreclosure hotbeds such as California, Georgia and Arizona.

All told, 45,038 U.S. homes completed the foreclosure process in February. That's less than half of the 102,000 homes lost to foreclosure in March 2010, when home repossessions peaked, according to the firm's records, which go back to January 2005.

Foreclosures remain at more than double the pace that RealtyTrac considers normal, roughly 20,000 foreclosures a month, the average in 2005. But their national impact has been contained, said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac.

"It's definitely safe to say we're past the worst of it at a national level," he said.

Several factors are contributing to the overall decline in completed foreclosures. More jobs and ultra-low mortgage rates are helping the once-battered housing market recover, and the rising demand combined with fewer available homes has helped push home prices steadily upward since last year. They posted their biggest annual increase in six years in January.

Higher home values help restore equity to homeowners, which can help those at risk of foreclosure by improving their chances of refinancing their mortgage to a lower payment or place them in a better position to sell their home.

Text Only
Breaking News
Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

About 70 houses in the city will be demolished with a federal loan initiative administered by the state. How many more houses in the city do you think need to be razed?

At least 70 more
200 to 500 more
1,000
None
     View Results