LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lenders repossessed fewer U.S. homes in January, bringing the number of completed foreclosures down to the lowest level in more than six years.

Foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. says banks took back 30,226 homes last month, a drop of 4 percent from December.

Completed foreclosures were down 40 percent from January last year. That's the lowest level since July 2007.

Even so, many states posted sharp increases in the number of homes just entering the foreclosure process.

U.S. foreclosure starts jumped 10 percent in January from December and rose on an annual basis in 22 states.

RealtyTrac says that increases the likelihood that foreclosures will surge in those states later this year.

Foreclosures peaked in 2010 at 1.05 million. They've been declining ever since.