More homeowners are staying current on their mortgage payments, contributing to a recovering housing market. Foreclosure activity for the first quarter was at its lowest level since the second quarter of 2007.
A report by RealtyTrac says that March marks the 42nd straight month that foreclosure activity fell to levels below a year earlier. Filings in the first quarter were 23 percent lower than they were at the same time last year.
Although foreclosure filings were up 4 percent from February to March, the report attributes it to a 7 percent increase in foreclosure starts during that period.
Banks move to sell inventory
Lender repossessions were down 5 percent in March from a month earlier and 34 percent from a year ago.
Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said in the report that banks will step up efforts to sell the inventory of nearly 500,000 foreclosed homes. "Now that the foreclosure deluge has dried up, banks are turning their attention back to properties that have been sitting in foreclosure limbo for some time,'' he said.
"Our estimates indicate only 10 percent of these bank-owned properties are listed for sale and more than half are still occupied by the former homeowner or tenant," Blomquist added.
Florida leads states in foreclosures
Florida had the highest foreclosure rate among the states, even though activity declined by 19 percent from a year ago. Maryland had the second-highest foreclosure rate, followed by Nevada and Illinois.
You can see which states had the highest foreclosure rates in our related story.
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