Ariz. foreclosures down 14 percent in 2011; state still No. 2 in country

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX (AP) -- Foreclosure tracking firm RealtyTrac says the number of Arizona homes repossessed by lenders in Arizona dropped by 14 percent last year.

The state had the second-highest level of foreclosure activity in the U.S. for the third year in a row. RealtyTrac says the owners of nearly 114,000 homes received at least one foreclosure notice in 2011. That's one out of every 24 housing units.

The actual number of homes repossessed by lenders totaled 60,320, down from 70,288 in 2010.

Phoenix and its suburbs came in with the 6th-highest rate of foreclosure activity among metropolitan areas with at least 200,000 residents. The Prescott area came in as No. 14 in the nation, with 3.5 percent of the homes receiving a foreclosure notice.

Even with the drop in foreclosures, Arizona's housing market remains exceptionally distressed. Foreclosures soared after losses on subprime mortgages battered the U.S. housing market in 2006, and the Great Recession hit in full force the following year.

In 2006, the state had fewer than 1,200 foreclosures.