Foreclosure activity dropped in November

Dec. 13, 2012 at 12:40 AM
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IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. foreclosure data from November suggests the housing market has come through the worst of the foreclosure crisis, a RealtyTrac executive said.

The data is uneven, but the 180,817 properties involved in foreclosures in November was a decrease of 3 percent from the previous month and 19 percent from November 2011, making it the 26th consecutive month with an annual decline in foreclosure activity, RealtyTrac said in a statement.

Moreover, November included a 71-month low in foreclosure starts, the firm said.

That presents "more evidence that we are past the worst of the foreclosure problem brought about by the housing bubble bursting six years ago," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

While some signs are encouraging, "foreclosures are continuing to hobble the U.S. housing market as lenders finally seize properties that started the process a year or two ago -- and much longer in some cases," he said.

Foreclosure starts were down 13 percent from October and 28 percent from November 2011, but foreclosure activity increased in 23 states and the District of Colombia. Nine states hit 12-month highs in foreclosure activity in the month, RealtyTrac said.

The highest foreclosure rate in the country was in Florida followed by Nevada, Illinois, California and South Carolina.

In Florida one in every 304 homes was involved in foreclosure in the month.

Data also shows that the foreclosure cycle is still caught up in the robo-signing scandal that derailed foreclosures in states that require foreclosures undergo a judicial review.

Several major banks halted foreclosure activities in judicial review states until the Department of Justice and five banks, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citi and Ally/GMAC, agreed to a $26 billion settlement to close an investigation of banks rushing the process through so-called "foreclosure mills," that cheated homeowners of due process.

In states that require courts to sign off on foreclosures, the backlog is still working its way through the system. As such, among the five banks involved in the deal foreclosure activity in non-judicial states decreased 41 percent in November compared to November 2011.

In states that do require judicial reviews, foreclosure activity for the five banks rose 26 percent from November 2011, RealtyTrac said.

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