Mortgage delinquencies in the U.S. were less severe in February, as Americans took greater control of their finances in light of an improving job market and stronger economic projections, according to data released this week by Lender Processing Services. Foreclosure rates were also down last month. The percentage of mortgage loans that were at least 30 days past due dropped from 7.97 percent in January to 7.57 percent in February. The delinquency rate was also 14 percent lower than what it was in February of last year. "The foreclosure inventory decreased 0.5 percent in February to a total of 2.065 million properties, down from 2.084 million properties in January, a decline of 19,000 properties," reports Shirley Allen for Loan Rate Update. "Compared to a year ago, there are 0.3 percent fewer homes in the foreclosure inventory." Housing trends have shown slight but hopeful signs of recovery in recent months. Earlier this week, the National Association of Home Builders reported home builder confidence held level in February at the highest figure in roughly four years.