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Markets Approach Normalcy as Foreclosure Crisis Enters ‘Ninth Inning’

The national foreclosure crisis is reaching its end as many markets work their way toward normalcy, according to the latest ""U.S. Foreclosure Market Report"":http://www.realtytrac.com/Content/foreclosure-market-report/november-2013-us-foreclosure-market-report-7946 from RealtyTrac. As major evidence of this trend, ""RealtyTrac"":http://www.realtytrac.com/ reports foreclosure starts reached a 95-month low in November.

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At the same time, overall foreclosure activity across the nation declined by 15 percent from October to November, while year-over-year, activity was down 37 percent, RealtyTrac found. The company says the monthly decrease is the largest on record since November 2010, and that decline of 21 percent three years ago took place alongside what RealtyTrac calls the ""revelation of the so-called robo-signing scandal,"" which derailed foreclosure processes for many large banks.

A total of 113,454 homes received foreclosure filings last month, accounting for one in every 1,155 homes in the country, RealtyTrac reports.

While conceding that some of November's decline could be seasonal, Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac VP, said ""the depth and breadth of the decrease provides strong evidence that we are entering the ninth inning of this foreclosure crisis with the outcome all but guaranteed.""

With foreclosures nationwide declining at such a significant rate, some real estate professionals are beginning to see a return to ""normalcy"" in their local markets.

""Foreclosures continue to decline and it's beginning to feel like a ‘normal' housing market again,"" Steve Roney, CEO of Prudential Utah Real Estate in Salt Lake City and Park City, told RealtyTrac.

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Similarly, Sheldon Detrick, CEO of Prudential Detrick/Alliance Realty in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, said, ""There will always be defaults, but it's clear that we are working our way back towards a normal housing market.""

Some markets, however, continue to struggle with an extensive backlog of foreclosures. For example, despite four consecutive months of declining activity, Florida continues to outrank all other states in foreclosure activity. One in every 392 homes in the state received a foreclosure filing in November, even though activity was down 15 percent over the month and 23 percent annually.

Furthermore, eight of the 10 metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates last month are located in Florida, RealtyTrac says. Like the state overall, these metros ranked high despite annual declines in foreclosure activity.

Throughout the state of Florida, foreclosure starts were down 46 percent during the 12 months ending in November, and bank repossessions were down 16 percent. Scheduled foreclosure auctions, however, have been on the rise for the past 11 months and increased 2 percent year-over-year in November.

The metro area with the highest foreclosure rate in the state and nation was Jacksonville, Florida, where one in every 288 homes had a foreclosure filing in November. Miami followed with one in every 307 homes receiving a filing, and Port St. Lucie ranked third with a rate of one in every 341 homes.

The only two metros in RealtyTrac's top-10 list located outside of Florida were Rockford, Illinois, and Charleston, South Carolina, which ranked No. 5 and No. 7, respectively.

At the state level, the state with the second-highest foreclosure rate in November earned its ranking after drastic increases in foreclosures over both the month and the year. Delaware's foreclosure activity was up 56 percent on a monthly basis and 141 percent on an annual basis. One in every 480 homes in the state received a foreclosure filing last month, according to RealtyTrac's assessment.

Following Florida and Delaware on the company's top-10 list were Maryland, South Carolina, Illinois, Ohio, Connecticut, Nevada, Iowa, and Utah.

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