The housing market is on the verge of finally shaking the foreclosure scourge that has plagued it for close to a decade.
Foreclosure activity fell in February to its lowest level since July 2006, and should return to — or even dip below — historic norms this year, said Daren Blomquist, vice president at data aggregator RealtyTrac.
The eight-and-a-half year low in foreclosure activity marks a significant milestone for the housing market, given that the housing bubble peaked in August 2006, Blomquist said.
He even speculated that foreclosure filings could be “headed below historic norms given the skinny-jeans-tight lending standards over the past five years.”
Foreclosure filings — defined as default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — that were reported on U.S. properties dropped by 9 percent in February from a year ago to 101,938, and were down 4 percent from revised January numbers.
Foreclosure activity has already fallen below pre-crisis levels in some states where foreclosures are processed efficiently, Blomquist said.
But he noted that the “cleanup of deferred distress is continuing in markets where a logjam of in-limbo foreclosures is still lingering from the housing crisis — as evidenced by rebounding foreclosure activity in those markets.”
Maryland (1 in every 564 housing units had a foreclosure filing), Nevada (1 in 569) and Florida (1 in 570) posted the nation’s highest foreclosure rates.
Other states that had the highest rates in February included Indiana (one in 871), Idaho (1 in 877), New Jersey (1 in 895), Illinois (1 in 906 housing), Delaware (1 in 957), Ohio (1 in 1,000), and North Carolina (1 in 1,088).