Foreclosures filings fell during April, down 5% from March and 14% lower than the same period last year, according to data released today by RealtyTrac.
There were 188,780 foreclosure actions, including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions last month. That translates into one out of every 698 U.S. homes facing some sort of foreclosure action — the lowest number since July 2007.
RealtyTrac officials said that sharp decreases in western states like California, Nevada and Arizona, which suffered most during the housing downturn, offset rising foreclosure levels elsewhere.
The decrease in April foreclosure filings in those states was attributed to more efficient processing of foreclosure actions in 2011.
Foreclosure filings rose in eastern, southern and mid-western states.
A rise in short sales is also diminishing new foreclosures, RealtyTrac noted. In fact, the number of short sales surpassed the number foreclosures in twelve states during the first quarter.
States with a non-judicial foreclosure process saw April foreclosures fall 7% compared to March. That was down 29% from last year.
Foreclosures in states with judicial foreclosure procedures fell 3% from March, but rose 15% compared to last year.