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Foreclosure Activity Creeping Up Again

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The number of foreclosures by mortgage lenders experienced by consumers nationwide has dipped significantly in recent months due to a recently-settled investigation by state and federal authorities, but now that the case has been cleared up, those incidents are taking place once again.

The number of foreclosure filings across the country dipped to a total of 206,900 in February, down 2 percent on a month-over month basis and 8 percent from the same month last year, according to a report from the foreclosure tracking firm RealtyTrac. However, that was the lowest year-over-year decline since October 2010, and that’s because the recently-settled foreclosure case between federal authorities and 49 states’ attorneys general against some of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders has been cleared up.

“February’s numbers point to a gradually rising foreclosure tide as some of the barriers that have been holding back foreclosures are removed,” said Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Although national foreclosure activity was pushed lower by decreases in a handful of larger states, 21 states posted annual increases in foreclosure activity, the most states with annual increases since November 2010.”

As a consequence, nearly half of all states experienced increases in the number of foreclosures they saw in February, and activity in the 26 states with judicial processes for these actions saw an increase of 24 percent on a year-over-year basis, the report said. In addition, half of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas saw increases in activity on an annual basis. The largest such jumps were experienced by Tampa, Florida (64 percent), and Miami (53 percent). All cities that experienced these increases were located either on the East Coast or in the Midwest.

However, despite those increases, Nevada remained the nation’s leader in foreclosure actions, the report said. For the 62nd month in a row, the state had more foreclosures than any other, even as those actions fell to a low not seen in 58 months. In February, one in every 278 housing units within Nevada’s borders suffered a foreclosure, more than twice the national average.

Foreclosure is a serious problem that many homeowners may face if they are seriously delinquent on their mortgage bills. With the settlement now behind the nation’s top lenders, many will likely start ramping up foreclosures considerably in the months to come.

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