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Foreclosures Fall to Lowest Level Since 2008 on Robo-Signing Delays

New data from ""RealtyTrac"":http://www.realtytrac shows that foreclosure activity last month fell to a level not seen since November 2008, after problems with paperwork prompted case reviews, foreclosure suspensions, and re-filings of affidavits by mortgage servicers.

Foreclosure filings nationwide in November dropped 21 percent from the previous month and 14 percent from a year earlier. For the first time since February 2009, RealtyTrac says the total number of filings for the month dipped below the 300,000 mark. The company tracked foreclosure filings - including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions - on 262,339 U.S. properties during November.

That equates to one in every 492 U.S. homes hit with a foreclosure notice or taken back by the lender during the month, compared to one in every 389 homes during October.

James Saccacio, RealtyTrac's CEO, said ""While part of the decrease can be attributed to a seasonal drop of 7 to 10 percent 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.""

According to RealtyTrac's report, a total of 78,955 properties received default notices in November, a 21 percent decrease from the previous month and a 31 per-


cent decrease from November 2009. While the robo-signing scandal may have impacted the short-term numbers, this marked the 10th straight annual decline in default notices.

RealtyTrac says default notices in states that practice judicial foreclosures plummeted 31 percent from the previous month. Meanwhile non-judicial default notices decreased 9 percent between October and November.

Foreclosure auctions were scheduled for the first time on a total of 115,956 properties in November, a 16 percent decrease from the previous month and unchanged from November 2009. Scheduled judicial foreclosure auctions dropped 34 percent month-over-month, while scheduled non-judicial foreclosure auctions were down 7 percent from the previous month.

Lenders foreclosed on 67,428 homes in November, a 28 percent decline from October and 12 percent fewer than in November 2009. Bank repossessions, or REOs, decreased month-over-month in 37 states and the District of Columbia, according to RealtyTrac's study.

November's REO total was the lowest since May 2009, but November's numbers pushed the year-to-date 2010 REO total to more than 980,000 - already above the record year-end total reported by RealtyTrac for 2009.

Despite a 20 percent monthly decrease in foreclosure activity, Nevada posted the nation's highest state foreclosure rate for the 47th straight month. One in every 99 Nevada housing units received a filing in November - nearly five times the national average.

Thanks in part to sharp monthly drops in foreclosure activity in Arizona, Florida, California, and Michigan, Utah's foreclosure rate leapfrogged to second highest among the states last month. One in every 221 Utah homes received a foreclosure notice in November.

California ranked third on RealtyTrac's list of the highest state foreclosure rates, with one in every 233 housing units receiving a filing last month. Other states on the company's top-10 list in November were Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Idaho, Illinois, and Colorado.