Fewer Homes Entered Foreclosure Path In November

The Associated Press

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While foreclosures remain a concern in select states, the number of U.S. homes entering the path to foreclosure or winding up repossessed by lenders has fallen to levels not seen in more than six years.

The trend is the latest sign foreclosures are becoming less of a national factor on the housing recovery and more of a state and metropolitan-area concern.

Lenders initiated foreclosure action against 52,826 U.S. homes in November, down 10 percent from the previous month and a drop of 32 percent from November last year, according to new data from foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc.

The last time the tally of monthly foreclosure starts was lower was in December 2005, the firm said.

Foreclosure starts increased last month on an annual basis in 15 states, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Oregon.

While fewer homes entered the foreclosure pipeline in November, the number of homes completing the foreclosure process also declined.

All told, lenders took back 30,461 homes last month, down 19 percent from October and a decline of 48 percent from November last year, RealtyTrac said.

Overall, completed foreclosures sank to the lowest level since July 2007, the firm said.

The number of homes repossessed by banks increased on an annual basis in only five states: Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, Maine and Iowa—all states where the courts must sign off on foreclosures, a factor that typically draws out the process longer than in other states.

Some of the decline in foreclosure activity last month was due to a seasonal slowdown as the end of the year draws near. That could mean a bump in homes sold at auction or repossessed by banks early next year, said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac.

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