February Foreclosure Activity Slows Sharply

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Foreclosures reached a 36-month low in February due to increased scrutiny of foreclosure proceedings by banks.

Foreclosure notices were down 14 percent from January and 27 percent from this time last year.

While severe weather was likely a factor, federal and state investigations launched last fall caused lenders to slow down the rate of foreclosures.

Several banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase, have been in talks to settle a probe launched by 50 state attorney generals over their handling of foreclosures.

"Should the foreclosure process slowdown continue for several months, it's likely foreclosure notices and bank repossessions will remain artificially low," said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at RealtyTrac.

Nevada posted the nation's highest foreclosure rate for the 50th consecutive month in February, with one in every 119 houses receiving a foreclosure notice.

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