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Home Repossessions Drop to Six-Year Low

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(IRVINE, Calif.) -- The number of U.S. homes seized by lenders last month fell to a 65-month low last month, according to a new report released Thursday by RealtyTrac.

The foreclosure listing firm says bank repossessions in February dropped 11 percent from January and were down 29 percent from the year before.  That marks the lowest level since September 2007.

The report also shows that 154,281 properties received a foreclosure notice last month, up 2 percent from January but down 25 percent from February 2012.

“At a high level the U.S. foreclosure inferno has been effectively contained and should be reduced to a slow burn in the next two years,” RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in a statement.  “But dangerous foreclosure flare-ups are still popping up in states where foreclosures have been delayed by a lengthy court process or by new legislation making it more difficult to foreclose outside of the court system.  Foreclosure starts have been steadily building in those states over the last several months and likely will end up as bank repossessions or short sales later this year."

Indeed, as the report points out, foreclosure starts increased in 32 states in February and were up from a year ago in 16 states.

“These new foreclosure hot spots include states like Washington, where seven straight months of rising foreclosure activity pushed the state’s foreclosure rate to fifth highest nationwide -- the highest it’s ever been in our report -- and Maryland, where eight straight months of rising foreclosure activity placed the state’s foreclosure rate among the top 10 nationwide for the first time since July 2010,” Blomquist said.

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