Minnesota saw a 17 percent drop in foreclosures last year, according to a study conducted by a consortium of Minnesota housing agencies.
The study counted about 21,300 foreclosures in 2011, down from more than 25,000 the year before, marking the fewest foreclosures the state has seen since 2007 -- but still at least triple what's considered a normal level.
Ed Nelson, a spokesman for the Minnesota Homeownership Center, predicts it will be many years before the foreclosure rate returns to normal.
"We will see a gradual stepping down -- 20, 25 percent, maybe a little more -- for the next four or five years before we can get back into a more stable market," he said.
Nelson also notes that while Minnesota's overall foreclosure rate is down, some areas, including Olmsted and Dakota counties, saw more foreclosures last year than the year before.