After falling 19 percent in January, foreclosures continued to fall in February with filings dropping 8 percent last month, according to RealtyTrac’s latest report. The big drops in foreclosures have served as a hopeful sign in the housing market that the foreclosure crisis was finally fading.

But housing experts caution that banks haven’t unclogged the pipeline of foreclosures yet, and a new wave of foreclosures is on its way. A $25 billion mortgage settlement among the nation’s five largest banks and state attorneys general is expected to prompt lenders to speed up their foreclosure processing in the months ahead.

The signs are already there: Twenty-one states posted increases in foreclosure filings in February–the highest number since November 2010, RealtyTrac reports. In Florida especially, the numbers dramatically increased in February: In Tampa, Fla., foreclosure filings in February were up 64 percent and spiked by 53 percent in Miami.

“February’s numbers point to a gradually rising foreclosure tide as some of the barriers that have been holding back foreclosures are removed,” says Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac.

Source: “Foreclosures Fall, but There’s a ‘Rising Tide’ Ahead,” CNNMoney (March 15, 2012)

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