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Despite February Dip Foreclosures Are Rising

RealtyTrac's monthly update on foreclosure activity found that 130,786 borrowers faced default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions in February, down 4% from the January total. (See table, page 26.)

But a glance at the overall picture shows that the good news isn't all that good. While foreclosure filings were down on a month-to-month basis, the February filing number was up 12% from one year earlier.

And RealtyTrac says that if the rates from the first two months of 2007 persist through the year, foreclosure filings for this year will exceed last year's total by 33%.

"It appears that as subprime and FHA loans default at higher-than-anticipated rates, and lenders tighten their underwriting standards, we're going to continue to see a spike in the number of homeowners facing foreclosure," said James Sacaccio, CEO of RealtyTrac, in a news release.

The states with the highest foreclosure filing rates were Nevada, Colorado and Florida, the company said.

It marked the second month in a row that Nevada topped the list. To top it off, the once-high-flying state saw its foreclosure total increase 24% from January. Nevada had a foreclosure rate of one filing for every 278 households in February, more than three times the national average.

Colorado's foreclosure filing rate was one for every 345 households. Florida's rate was one for every 382 households. While that placed Florida third, the state saw its rate of foreclosure filings jump 63% from the month before.

Other states among the top 10 in terms of foreclosure filings were Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio, Texas, Arizona and Indiana.

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