NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of Americans receiving delinquency notices on their homes rose in February from January, while the backlog of homes in the foreclosure pipeline showed signs of starting to ease, a report said on Thursday.
Default notices were filed for the first time on 58,886 homes last month, up 1 percent from January, though still down 7 percent from February 2011, a report from RealtyTrac showed.
A dozen states saw increases of 20 percent or more compared with the year before, including Hawaii, Florida and Massachusetts.
Overall foreclosure filings - which include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions - decreased 2 percent from January to 206,900 homes, and were down 8 percent from February 2011.
But there was a divide in the pace of activity among the states, depending on the structure of their foreclosure process, which suggested some of the homes in the pipeline were starting to move.
Foreclosure activity jumped 24 percent from a year ago in states where foreclosures must be processed through the courts, known as judicial states. Foreclosure times have stretched longer in judicial states, contributing to the backlog.
Meanwhile, activity tumbled 23 percent in non-judicial states.
"We're seeing definite signs that the foreclosure log jam that's built up over the last year and a half is beginning to loosen up," said Daren Blomquist, director of marketing communications at RealtyTrac.
"It's a little difficult because it's not all happening at the same time across the country. Regionally and state by state, we're seeing the numbers loosen up at different times."
Overall, banks seized fewer homes. Repossessions fell 4 percent to 63,834 and were down 1 percent from a year ago.
(Reporting By Leah Schnurr; Editing by Leslie Adler)