Home foreclosures in Minnesota have fallen to their lowest level since 2006, according to the Minnesota Home Ownership Center.
A new report from the organization says there were about 18,000 foreclosures in the state last year, a drop of 16 percent from 2011. But foreclosure levels are still three times higher than in 2005, when the Home Ownership Center started to see an uptick in foreclosures.
Ed Nelson, the center's spokesman, said the statewide rate of foreclosures is dropping. But exurban areas still grapple with above average rates.
"Some of these areas — Isanti, Sherburne, Mille Lacs County, Pine County — continue to struggle in their recovery of their economic base," Nelson said. "That's one of the reasons they have a higher foreclosure rate."
Nelson said those areas were also overbuilt during the housing boom.
He said on the whole, banks seem to be processing foreclosures and loan modifications more quickly.
"They've gotten much better at the whole paperwork process, and they've gotten much better at what they actually offer consumers," Nelson said.
Barring some major economic problem, Nelson expects the rate of foreclosure in the state to continue to decline.