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Foreclosures level off in February

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Foreclosure-related filings were up 6 percent in February compared to a year ago, data aggregator RealtyTrac said today -- the smallest year-over-year increase in records dating to January 2006. The 308,524 U.S. properties hit with foreclosure-related filings during the month represented a 2 percent decrease from January, and February was a shorter month by three days. The leveling of foreclosure-related filings is not necessarily evidence that fewer homeowners are in distress and at risk for foreclosure, RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio said in a press release. Foreclosure prevention programs, legislation and other processing delays are "in effect capping monthly foreclosure activity" at a historically high level that will likely continue for an extended period, Saccacio said. Not all properties subjected to foreclosure-related filings will be sold at auction or repossessed by lenders. RealtyTrac tracks default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions. D...