Still, the signs are hopeful. In February, more than 60 major housing markets had a decrease in foreclosure rates compared to February 2011, CoreLogic said, noting that low interest rates continue to be a positive factor in the housing market.
“The share of borrowers nationally that were 90 or more days late on their mortgage payment fell to 7.3% in February 2012 from 7.8% in February 2011, but inched up from 7.2% in January 2012,” CoreLogic said. Sales of real-estate-owned properties have been speeding up relative to the number of completed foreclosures, another sign the backlog of foreclosed homes is clearing, though it still has a long way to go.
Different markets have radically different experiences. Nearly half of all foreclosures are in just five states: California, Florida, Michigan, Arizona and Texas. The highest foreclosure rates, or percentage of homes in foreclosure, are found in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Nevada and New York.
Foreclosure rates are lowest in Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota, Nebraska and Montana.
Altogether, the foreclosure data is like much of the economic data coming out these days: encouraging, but leaving a lot of room for improvement.