Foreclosure filings dropped 21% in November from the previous month as lenders continued to review procedures for more signs of documentation problems, according to RealtyTrac. There were 262,339 filings in the month, which was also down 14% from a year ago. For the first time since February 2009, filings slipped below 300,000. One in every 492 homes received either a default notice, scheduled auction or a bank repossession. “While part of the decrease can be attributed to a seasonal drop of 7% to 10% that typically occurs in November, fallout from the foreclosure robo-signing controversy forced lenders and servicers to hit the pause button on many foreclosures while they scrambled to revamp their internal procedures and revise or resubmit questionable paperwork,” RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio said. Early December data show artificially low numbers as well, and RealtyTrac expects the delayed foreclosures from the robo-signing scandal to keep filings down until the first quarter of 2011, which only adds to the shadow inventory. “Even with this big drop in November we do have a continuing building inventory of properties in foreclosure or REO,” said Daren Blomquist, managing editor of the RealtyTrac reports. “We’re estimating those properties plus delinquencies to equal 3 million to 4 million homes waiting to hit the market.” Nevada posted the nation’s highest foreclosure rate for the 47th straight month despite a 20% decrease in November. One in every 99 Nevada homes received a filing in November, nearly five times the national average. Because foreclosure activity took such a drastic downturn, Utah leapfrogged Arizona, Florida, California and Michigan for the second highest foreclosure rate in the country. There, one in every 221 homes received a filing. Write to Jon Prior.

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