Foreclosure-related filings against U.S. homes fell 14 percent from January to February and were down 27 percent from a year ago — the biggest year-over-year drop recorded by data aggregator RealtyTrac since it began issuing reports in 2005.

RealtyTrac said 225,101 homes were subjected to a default notice, auction notice or bank repossession in February — a three-year low that the company attributed to continued fallout from the robo-signing controversy.

RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio noted that February is a short month, and that a small part of the decrease could also be attributed to bad weather.

Foreclosure-related filings against U.S. homes fell 14 percent from January to February and were down 27 percent from a year ago — the biggest year-over-year drop recorded by data aggregator RealtyTrac since it began issuing reports in 2005.

RealtyTrac said 225,101 homes were subjected to a default notice, auction notice or bank repossession in February — a three-year low that the company attributed to continued fallout from the robo-signing controversy.

RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio noted that February is a short month, and that a small part of the decrease could also be attributed to bad weather.

But the "bottom line is that the industry is in the midst of a major overhaul that has severely restricted its capacity to process foreclosures," he said. "We expect to see the numbers bounce back, but that will likely take several months."

Foreclosure filings may never return to a March 2010 peak, when more than 367,000 properties were subjected to filings, he said.

Lenders repossessed 64,643 U.S. properties in February, down 17 percent from January and 18 percent from a year ago. That was a 22-month low, and a 37 percent drop from a September 2010 peak, when lenders added 102,134 homes to their real estate owned (REO) inventories.

Bank repossessions were down 24 percent from January and 35 percent from a year ago in states with a judicial foreclosure process. In states with a nonjudicial foreclosure process, repossessions were down 14 percent from January and 8 percent from a year ago.

In states with a judicial foreclosure process, default notices decreased 19 percent from January to February, and were down 48 percent from a year ago. In states with a nonjudicial foreclosure process, default notices decreased 13 percent from January and were down 31 percent from the same month a year ago.

Nevada posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate, as it has for 50 months running. One in every 119 Nevada housing units was subjected to a foreclosure filing in February, compared with one in 577 for the U.S. as a whole.

Arizona posted the nation’s second-highest state foreclosure rate (one filing per 178 housing unit), followed by California (1 in 239), Utah (1 in 273), Georgia (1 in 317), Michigan (1 in 324), Florida (1 in 472), Colorado (1 in 515) and Hawaii (1 in 541).

Properties with foreclosure filings

Rank

State name

Total

Filings per household (rate)

Percent change from year ago

U.S.

225,101

577

-27.04

27

Alabama

1,980

1,102

-13.57

31

Alaska

222

1,279

-32.32

2

Arizona

15,485

178

-7.38

18

Arkansas

1,737

755

-13.58

3

California

56,229

239

-17.99

9

Colorado

4,207

515

-18.37

40

Connecticut

747

1,936

-67.44

19

Delaware

507

782

62.50

8

Florida

18,760

472

-65.28

6

Georgia

12,807

317

5.17

10

Hawaii

953

541

-1.95

5

Idaho

2,172

298

0.23

11

Illinois

9,592

552

-44.59

26

Indiana

2,791

1,007

-36.00

22

Iowa

1,624

828

209.92

30

Kansas

1,039

1,188

30.86

41

Kentucky

867

2,232

6.77

32

Louisiana

1,424

1,379

1.79

42

Maine

275

2,562

-27.25

38

Maryland

1,314

1,782

-77.08

36

Massachusetts

1,563

1,758

-65.68

7

Michigan

14,003

324

-30.08

28

Minnesota

2,116

1,103

-29.63

43

Mississippi

457

2,805

9.86

20

Missouri

3,337

804

10.72

34

Montana

317

1,392

117.12*

45

Nebraska

244

3,245

29.10

1

Nevada

9,553

119

-13.43

24

New Hampshire

691

868

-16.85

39

New Jersey

1,861

1,895

-50.37

29

New Mexico

740

1,187

-36.21

44

New York

2,745

2,921

-15.20

33

North Carolina

3,081

1,382

-1.91

48

North Dakota

34

9,307

-45.16

13

Ohio

8,598

592

-23.82

35

Oklahoma

1,152

1,433

-38.98

15

Oregon

2,427

676

-26.72

37

Pennsylvania

3,110

1,774

-24.75

16

Rhode Island

610

741

-1.45

17

South Carolina

2,791

747

-10.37

46

South Dakota

101

3,619

-24.06

21

Tennessee

3,396

819

-8.02

23

Texas

11,562

841

-8.51

4

Utah

3,488

273

1.69

50

Vermont

5

62,849

-37.50

25

Virginia

3,403

979

-22.71

14

Washington

4,385

642

64.23

49

West Virginia

40

22,344

-45.95

12

Wisconsin

4,478

578

12.12

47

Wyoming

62

4,022

16.98

Source: RealtyTrac

In terms of raw numbers, California had the most properties subjected to foreclosure-related filings in February (56,229), followed by Florida (18,760), Arizona (15,485), Michigan (14,003), Georgia (12,807), Texas (11,562), Illinois (9,592), Nevada (9,553), Ohio (8,598) and Wisconsin (4,478).

At the metro level, markets in Nevada, California and Arizona continued to dominate the top 20, accounting for all top 10 metro foreclosure rates and 15 of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates in February.

The Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., metro area posted the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate, with one in every 106 housing units subjected to a foreclosure-related filing in February.

Seven California metro areas posted foreclosure rates in the top 10, led by Modesto at No. 2 (one in every 140 housing units with a foreclosure filing), and Stockton at No. 3 (1 in 141).

The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area had the fourth-highest metro foreclosure rate (1 in 143), followed by Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (1 in 144); Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. (1 in 147); Merced, Calif. (1 in 153); Bakersfield, Calif. (1 in 166 housing units); Reno-Sparks, Nev. (1 in 184); and Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville (1 in 189 housing units).

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