CHARLOTTE, N.C. _ Foreclosure activity plunged across North Carolina last month, far outpacing a national decline as several initiatives helped people hang on to their homes at least a little longer.
Statewide, foreclosure filings fell 59 percent compared with January 2008, according to an Observer analysis of state data. That was the largest drop in three consecutive months of declines, but it's not a sign the problem has ended.
The slowdown follows a foreclosure moratorium of more than two months by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which account for more than half of U.S. mortgages. The two mortgage giants and big banks, including Bank of America and Wachovia owner Wells Fargo, also have been pushing plans to help struggling borrowers rework mortgages.
On Friday, Bank of America declared a three-week foreclosure moratorium while several other major lenders also announced delays as the federal government crafts a plan to help homeowners. Wells Fargo earlier this week extended and expanded its foreclosure delay.
In North Carolina, the national efforts coincided with a new law that since November has stalled the foreclosure process by at least 45 days. The few states with similar plans saw initial dips in foreclosure filings but rebounded within a few months, said Daren Blomquist, a spokesman for RealtyTrac, one of the most widely used sources of foreclosure data.
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