Foreclosure activity is down to a near five-year low across the country, according to new numbers out today by RealtyTrac.
"In April 2012, there were less than 189,000 properties with foreclosure filings during the month," Daren Blomquist of RealtyTrac says. "That was a 57-month low. That's the lowest level we've seen since July 2007."
Blomquist credits the decrease partly to banks' being more willing to work with struggling homeowners.
"More properties that would have become foreclosures otherwise are actually becoming short sales," he says. "The lenders are becoming much more aggressive in agreeing to short sales."
This has likely helped lead to a drop in the number of filings in the West. Foreclosure activity is down in California, Arizona and Nevada, states that were hard hit by the foreclosure crisis, according to RealtyTrac.
Blomquist cautions, however, that homeowners are not out of the woods yet.
"It's not that foreclosures have completely gone away by any means, but at least they're heading in the right direction and finally have kind of gotten through this very big batch of bad loans that triggered the foreclosure crisis in the first place," he says.
And while the outlook has improved on the West Coast, the picture is grimmer toward the East. Filings are up year over year in New Jersey, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan, RealtyTrac reports.