Foreclosres rise in February, experts 'very surprised'
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The foreclosure picture suddenly darkened again in February.
More than 74,000 homes were lost to bank repossessions during the month, up from 67,000 in January, according to a regular monthly report from RealtyTrac, the online marketer of foreclosed properties. Nearly 1.2 million have been lost since the foreclosure crisis hit in August 2007.
"We were very surprised," said RealtyTrac spokesman Rick Sharga. "The moratorium were led by big players like Fannie and Freddie and all the major banks. It was supposed to cover the whole waterfront. The fact that foreclosures still went up was a shock."
A particularly troubling aspect of the report was that, for many borrowers, once they go into default, they never get out despite moratorium efforts. That's borne out by comparing bank repossessions - homes actually lost by borrowers - with total foreclosure filings: Nationally, repossessions increased 11% for the month, almost double the 6% rise for filings.
The dubious honor of worst foreclosure state still belongs to Nevada, where one of every 70 households had a filing. Foreclosures are up 156% from last February and 9% from January. More than 2,800 homes were repossessed by banks during the month
Among metro areas, Las Vegas, where one in every 60 housing units received a foreclosure filing in February, led all other cities with populations of 200,000 or more. Another Nevada city, Reno, had one for every 108 hosueholds, the eighth highest rate in the nation.
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