Foreclosure filings fell 21% in November, RealtyTrac reports, attributing the drop to seasonal trends and servicers' decisions to review their foreclosure processes. The data provider says default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions were reported on 262,339 U.S. properties last month – the first time since February 2009 that the number of filings in a month has fallen below 300,000.
"While part of the decrease can be attributed to a seasonal drop of seven 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,’ explains RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio.
Both the 21% month-over-month decrease and 14% year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity were the highest drops recorded since RealtyTrac began publishing the U.S. Foreclosure Report in January 2005.
Default notices fell 31% in judicial-foreclosure states and 9% in nonjudicial states. Nationally, default notices totaled nearly 79,000 – about a 21% decrease in November .
Foreclosure auctions were scheduled for the first time on a total of 115,956 U.S. properties last month – a 16% decrease from the previous month and unchanged from November 2009. Scheduled judicial foreclosure auctions decreased 34% from the previous month, while scheduled nomjudicial foreclosure auctions decreased 7%.
Lenders foreclosed on 67,428 U.S. properties in November – down 28% from the previous month and down 12% from November 2009. Bank repossessions (REOs) decreased month-over-month in 37 states and the District of Columbia. 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 for 2009.
Arizona, Florida, California and Michigan all posted large monthly drops in foreclosure activity. Nevada, despite its 20% month-to-month decrease in foreclosure activity, still recorded the nation's highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 99 housing units receiving a filing last month – almost five times the national average.
Utah surprisingly leapfrogged to second highest among the states in November after being sixth highest the previous month. One in every 221 Utah housing units received a foreclosure notice during the month.