Foreclosure filings involving default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions were down 3% in November across the country from the previous month, according to RealtyTrac's latest foreclosure report.

Servicers and banks recorded foreclosure filings for 224,394 properties in November, a year-over-year difference of 14%, which marks the smallest annual decrease over the past 12 months.
The Irvine, Calif.-based analytic firm reported that that one in every 579 housing units filed for foreclosure during the month.

“Despite a seasonal slowdown similar to what we've seen in each of the past four years, November's numbers suggest a new set of incoming foreclosure waves, many of which may roll into the market as REOs or short sales sometime early next year,” said James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

Lenders repossessed 56,124 housing units in November, down 17% both from the prior month and the same time period last year. Last month, REO activity was at its lowest level since March 2008, a 44-month low.

Scheduled auctions reached a nine-month high following a default surge that began in August, with 96,540 properties ready for foreclosure auction. Several states saw scheduled foreclosure auctions increase by more than 35%, including California (63%), Washington (56%), Ohio (53%), New Jersey (44%) and New York (38%).

Meanwhile, default notices were filed for the first time on 71,730 units, an 8% decrease from the prior month and down 9% from November 2010.

Nevada, California and Arizona continue to be the top states in foreclosure rates.

Even though Nevada passed a new state law in October that altered the foreclosure filing process, there were 6,512 state properties that received a foreclosure filing in November, an increase of 3% from a 45-month low in October. One in every 175 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing in November, more than three times the national average.

Scheduled trustee's sales in California reached a 10-month high in November at 26,509, helping the state maintain the nation's second highest foreclosure rate in which one in every 211 properties filed for foreclosure.

Arizona foreclosure activity was up on a year-over-year basis for the first time since last October with one in every 256 units recording a foreclosure filing making it the nation's third highest foreclosure rate in November.

Among Metropolitan Statistical Areas, nine out of the nation's 10 highest foreclosure rates were in California, with the exception of Las Vegas which was ranked sixth.

With one in every 120 housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month, Stockton, Calif., had the highest metropolitan foreclosure rate for the second month in a row. There were a total of 1,913 Stockton properties with a foreclosure filing in November, up 20% from the previous month and an increase of 9% from November 2010. The increase in Stockton was driven largely by a 65% month-over-month increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions.

The eight other California cities with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 all posted double-digit percentage increases in scheduled foreclosure auctions in November, ranging from a 37% month-over-month increase in Modesto to a 100% month-over-month increase in Fresno.

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