Housing Stalled? Foreclosure Starts, Sales Decline in February

Foreclosure starts and sales in February declined on a month-over-month basis after January’s sharp increase in activity, according to Lender Processing Services.
Analysts says the figures could reflect a stalled overall housing market where a large component of sales are distressed properties. Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 34 percent of February sales of existing homes.
Foreclosure starts February were down 15 percent from the month prior, with sales down 19 percent for the same period, according to LPS.
Sales decreased in both judicial and non-judicial foreclosure states, dropping 22 and 19 percent month-over-month respectively in February.
While January’s increase in foreclosure sales mostly covered loans held on bank portfolios, the February drop was broad-based across all investor classes
The February mortgage figures also showed continued declines in new problem loans, reflecting improved delinquency rates nationwide.
Moreover, first-time foreclosures remained stable as repeat foreclosures saw an 8 percent month-over-month decrease.
Meanwhile, new mortgage originations remain continued a four-month decline.
Here are results from LPS’ latest Mortgage Monitor report:

Total U.S. loan delinquency rate:​ 7.57 %​
Month-over-month change in delinquency rate:​ -5.0 %​
Total U.S. foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate:​ 4.13 %​
Month-over-month change in foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate:​ -0.5 %​
States with highest percentage of non-current* loans:​ FL, MS, NV, NJ, IL​
States with the lowest percentage of non-current* loans:​ MT, AK, WY, SD, ND​

*Non-current totals combine foreclosures and delinquencies as a percent of active loans in that state.

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