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RealtyTrac Sees Foreclosures Fall for Fourth Straight Month

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Foreclosure filings in November dropped 8% from the previous month but remain 18% above levels seen a year ago, according to RealtyTrac’s foreclosure market report. Along with holding an online marketplace of foreclosures, RealtyTrac provides a count of properties with at least one foreclosure filing in its database across more than 2,200 counties nationwide. “November was the fourth straight month that US foreclosure activity has declined after hitting an all-time high for our report in July, and November foreclosure activity was at the lowest level we’ve seen since February,” said James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. In November, one in every 417 homes in the US received a foreclosure filing, which includes either default notices, scheduled foreclosure auction and bank repossessions. Default notices across the country fell 8% from the month before but climbed 22% from last year. Scheduled foreclosure auctions fell 12% from the previous month but grew 32% from 2008, according to the report. Bank repossessions flattened from October and remained down from November 2008. That number could remain flat as long as the Treasury Department keeps pressure on servicers to modify loans through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) – despite some calling the program’s success into question. “Loan modifications and other foreclosure prevention efforts, along with the recently extended and expanded homebuyer tax credit, are keeping a lid on the most visible symptoms of the nation’s ailing housing market — foreclosures and home value depreciation,” Saccacio said. Nevada’s foreclosure rate continues to lead the country. In November, 9,295 homes received a foreclosure filing, translating to one in every 119 homes. It’s a 33% drop from the previous month and its second straight double-digit decrease. In Las Vegas, one in every 102 homes received a foreclosure filing, which is four times the national average. However, it has dropped out of the top 10 highest metro foreclosure rates with its 33% decrease from the previous month. In Florida, one in every 165 homes received a foreclosure filing in November, overtaking the second spot from California, where one in every 180 homes received a filing. California posted a 13% decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous month, but it still posted the highest total of any state with 73,995 foreclosure filings in November, a 22% increase from last year. For the second straight month, four states accounted for 52% of the nation’s foreclosure activity: California, Florida, Illinois and Michigan. Write to Jon Prior.

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