The foreclosure crisis appears to be leveling off.
The number of people facing foreclosure is nearly flat from a year ago, according to the latest report from a private foreclosure listing service. A third fewer people are receiving legal warnings that they could lose their homes. And foreclosures are receding in some of the hardest-hit cities.
Still, the number of foreclosures remains extraordinarily high. Experts caution that a big reason for the stabilization is that banks are letting delinquent borrowers stay longer in their homes rather than adding to the glut of foreclosed properties on the market. New consumer protection laws, which vary by state, have also meant borrowers can spend more time in their homes.
A record high of more than 10 percent of homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one payment as of the end of March, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. But the number of homeowners just starting to show trouble is trending downward as the economy improves.