Foreclosure filings dropped in February for the second straight month to 106,074, down 3.4 percent from January’s 109,851 filings, and off 6.5 percent from December’s soaring 113,486. The latest numbers, however, still are up almost 65 percent from the 64,375 filings for the same time a year ago, according to ForeclosureS.com, a California-based real estate investment advisory firm. â€œThe foreclosure numbers finally are beginning to reflect the stabilization in housing markets that we’ve been talking about for the last few months,â€? said Alexis McGee, president of ForeclosureS.com. Overextended homeowners in certain areas of the country remain hard hit by job cuts and sluggish home prices, and continue to see big numbers of foreclosures. That’s especially evident in the Southwest (including Colorado), coastal/resort areas like Florida and California, and certain states with major manufacturing centers (including Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, and North Carolina). But overall, the outlook is much brighter, says McGee. â€œOf course, time will tell for sure whether we’ve seen the bottom or not. However, other economic indicators reflect a leveling off between housing supply and demand, and reinforce the opinion that the worst really is behind us,â€? she adds. In spite of McGee’s optimism, foreclosures continue to soar. Missouri, with 5,966 foreclosure filings so far this year, led the country in percentage increase in filings year-to-date — with a 240 percent increase over the 1,753 filings for the same time period a year earlier. California came in second with 50,378 filings so far in 2007, a 184 percent increase over the 17,720 filings for January-February 2006. The Golden State also took the top spot in numbers of overall filings during the same time period, with Florida (27,082), Texas (18,357), Colorado (11,506), and Illinois (10,917), rounding out the top five.
Midwest Sees 14.5 Percent Drop in Foreclosures The worst economic fallout in housing markets seems to be over for much of the nation’s heartland. Last month the Midwest recorded a double-digit drop in foreclosure filings. That follows the tidal wave of foreclosures that ripped across the area last year in the wake of massive job cuts by automakers and other manufacturers. A total 17,329 foreclosures were filed region-wide in February, down 14.5 percent over January’s 20,272 filings. Illinois’ 4,641 foreclosure filings last month were down more than 26 percent from January’s numbers, and down 22 percent from the same time last year. Once again, Cook County (Chicago) with its 2,669 foreclosures accounted for well over half the state’s foreclosures. In Ohio, Cuyahoga County (which includes Cleveland and its environs), accounted for the biggest chunk of that state’s 3,280 filings last month. Overall, Ohio’s February filings also were down â€” almost 23 percent over January numbers. Michigan, unfortunately, bucked the trend toward declines. Its 4,305 foreclosures were up from 4,008 in January, with Wayne County leading the way. The county, which includes Detriot, clocked in with 1,926 foreclosure filings during February, up almost 30 percent from the 1,494 reported for January. Southeast Continues to Struggle Parts of the Southeast struggled yet again with soaring numbers of foreclosures last month despite an easing in foreclosure filings nationally. The 14,560 filings in Florida for February hit a near record, up more than 16 percent over January, and almost 100 percent over February 2006. The Sunshine State was second only in the nation to the 25,090 foreclosures for the month in California. The 26,869 total filings in the region were up, too, 13 percent over January’s 23,787. â€œJust too many people overextended themselves buying homes they could not afford to finance and it will take time for these homeowners to work through their financial problems,â€? says McGee. Brighter spots in the Southeast Region include Georgia, with 3,078 filings in February, down 15.9 percent from 3,658 in January; and Kentucky with 313 filings, down slightly from the 323 in January. Northeast Stays Small Despite its major population centers along much of the East Coast, the nation’s Northeast Region trailed the country in numbers of foreclosure filings last month. Only New York made the nation’s Top 10 list (No. 9) in numbers of foreclosures. The region reported 10,480 filings last month, well below all other regions of the country, and down 15.7 percent from its own numbers in January. On a less positive note, New York, with 3,208 filings, regained its dubious honor of region leader in foreclosures, with filings up 17.5 percent from January’s 2,730 filings. Foreclosure filings in Massachusetts dropped 25.3 percent to 3,105 in February. That’s after its region-topping 4,159 foreclosure filings in January. Southwestern Foreclosures Stabilize The nation’s Southwest region still leads the country in numbers of homeowners forced to file foreclosure, but the volume of new filings are down, even if just slightly. A total 49,368 foreclosures were filed in the region last month, off 4.7 percent from January filings, and slightly more than the 3.3 percent decline nationally. In Texas, a state that along with Florida is among the leaders in numbers of foreclosures, filings were down 27.6 percent in February (7,708 vs. 10,649 in January). Even in California, which always seems to top the country in foreclosure filings, numbers were down slightly in February â€” 25,090 vs. 25,288 in January. On a less positive note, Coloradans continue to file foreclosures in huge numbers, with 6,388 filings in February, up almost 25 percent from January’s 5,118. But that’s still well below the frantic pace of 7,396 filings in December 2006. â€œThe state’s economy is healthy, but homeowners there just can’t seem to get out from under the tremendous numbers of creative financing deals that backfired and ended in foreclosures,â€? says McGee. For more information, visit http://www.foreclosures.com.