Foreclosures Down, but Housing Pain Isn't Over

Roughly a third of a million properties had some kind of foreclosure action taken against them in April -- from a default notice to a bank repossession to a foreclosure auction.

That comes according to the latest data from RealtyTrac, an Internet marketplace specializing in foreclosures.

Commentators are writing positive headlines about the news because the exact number of foreclosure filings, 333,837, is less than the record-busting 367,056 recorded in March. It's also less than the 342,038 recorded in April a year ago.

But the news does nothing to change the basic trend in foreclosures.

Let me put it this way: Give or take 20,000 or 30,000, we've had a third of a million foreclosure actions a month for the last year -- at least four times the rate of foreclosures in a healthy housing market.

So the news on foreclosures seems to be consistently bad, even though I keep reading (and sometimes writing) that the economy is slowly getting better. What's going on?