Residential servicers completed 65,000 foreclosures in February, an 8% decline from the prior month and just about flat from the same period a year ago, according to new figures compiled by CoreLogic, Santa Ana, Calif.The firm said roughly 1.4 million homes -- 3.4% of all units encumbered by a mortgage — were in the foreclosure during the month, compared to 1.5 million in January.

The five states with the highest number of foreclosures include California (154,000), Florida (87,000), Michigan (64,000), Arizona (63,000), and Texas (58,000).  Florida once again led the nation in terms of foreclosure ratios: 12%. New Jersey was a distant second at 6.6%.

"Even though the pace of completed foreclosures has slowed, the overall foreclosure inventory is decreasing because REO sales were up in February,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “With the spring buying season upon us, the inventory may decline further as the pace of distressed-asset sales rises along with the rest of the housing market.”

In February, at least 60 major markets saw a decrease in their foreclosure rates compared to a year ago.

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