February foreclosure starts and sales reversed course, declining on a month-over-month basis after January's sharp increase in activity, according to new data from Jacksonville, Fla.-based Lender Processing Services Inc. (LPS).
Foreclosure starts were down 15% in February from the month before, with sales down 19% for the same period. Foreclosure sales decreased in both judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure states, dropping 22% and 19% month-over-month, respectively, in February.
The LPS mortgage performance data showed that while January's increase in foreclosure sales was most pronounced in loans held on bank portfolios, the February drop was broad-based across all investor classes. Even accounting for the decrease in foreclosure sales, national pipeline ratios continue to decline off their peaks, but still differ sharply by region. As of the end of February, the average pipeline ratio in judicial states stood at 84 months, as compared to 33 months in nonjudicial states. Pipeline ratios continue to be most pronounced in the Northeast, particularly in New York and New Jersey, where average pipelines remain at 846 and 772 months, respectively.
LPS' mortgage performance data also showed that continued declines in new problem loan rates support improved delinquency rates nationwide. Seasonal patterns are also evident in cures from delinquency, with increased cure rates across almost all categories of delinquent loans.
Additionally, first-time foreclosures remained stable as repeat foreclosures saw an 8% month-over-month decrease. At the same time, however, new mortgage originations remained depressed, continuing a four-month decline.
The states with highest percentage of non-current loans were Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey and Illinois. The states with the lowest percentage of non-current loans were Montana, Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota.