Nationally, foreclosures are creeping downward: The total number of new foreclosure filings dropped 2 percent from January to February, according to RealtyTrac — and that’s an 8 percent decrease from February 2011. Completed foreclosures fell 13 percent in January over the previous year. That said, new foreclosures are still rising in more than 20 states — mostly in the Midwest and on the East Coast — and that’s a trend that’s expected to continue in the coming months.
Why? It’s in large part due to the recent $25 billion settlement over faulty foreclosure practices. Foreclosure proceedings had been stalled while the deal was being worked out, and states are moving to clear the backlog now that the settlement has provided “a clear roadmap” for moving forward, according to Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac, the foreclosure sales company that conducted the survey.
In the short term, the new foreclosures could risk depressing housing prices, which just increased in February for the first time in 18 months. But the national trend suggests that the foreclosure crisis is finally showing signs of abating.