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Foreclosure rates fall in the US but still way above a year ago, latest figures show

The latest figures shows that foreclosure filings fell 2% in February but they are still 6% above the level in the same period in 2009.
More than 308,000 homes, or one in every 418, received a foreclosure filing in February, which includes default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, according to the data from real estate data provider RealtyTrac.
James Saccacio, chief executive of RealtyTrac, said the 6% increase from last year was the smallest since January 2006, but it was the 50th consecutive month of yearly increases.
‘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 programmes, legislation and other processing delays are in effect capping monthly foreclosure activity, albeit at a historically high level that will likely continue for an extended period,’ Saccacio explained.
Servicers participating in the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) have provided 116,000 permanent modifications and a million more are in HAMP trials. The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program is also said to be performing well and the Obama Administration is even considering prohibiting any foreclosure until the borrower is considered for a HAMP modification.
‘In the foreclosure data, if we saw decreases for six months or more, that would be pretty solid evidence that it’s more than just a Band-aid, but a sign that there is more of a long-term trend going on,’ said Daren Blomquist, marketing communications manager at RealtyTrac.
But the trend since the summer of 2009 has been choppy. Foreclosures decreased from month to month in September, October and November and then increased by 14% in December. Foreclosure activity then decreased in January and again last month.
The Nevada foreclosure rate continues to lead all states for the 38th month in a row. It did drop 7% from the previous month in February and remained 30% below levels at the same time in 2009. One in every 102 homes in Nevada received a foreclosure filing in February.
Arizona, Florida, California and Michigan rounded out the top five foreclosure rates.