Arizona's home foreclosure rate continued its decline in February, with the number of filings down 56.2 percent from one year ago, a foreclosure tracking company reported Thursday.

The state had had at least one foreclosure filing for every 704 residential properties in February, with a total of 3,999 filings, RealtyTrac of Irvine, Calif., reported in a press release.

A foreclosure filing is defined as a default notice, an auction or sale notice or a notice of a bank purchase or takeover. One property can have more than one filing over time, and thus the total number of filings and the filing rate don't reflect the actual number of properties in some phase of foreclosure.

Arizona's rate was sixth worst in the country, the first time since the recession that the state has been out of the top four. Florida, Nevada, Illinois, Ohio and Washington state had worse rates than Arizona in February.

Nationally, the rate of foreclosure filings improved by 25.4 percent from one year earlier.

“At a high level the U.S. foreclosure inferno has been effectively contained and should be reduced to a slow burn in the next two years,” RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist was quoted in the press release as saying.