Data due out today from RealtyTrac shows foreclosure filings fell 8% in November from October but were still up 18% from the year earlier.
"November was the fourth straight month that U.S. foreclosure activity has declined after hitting an all-time high for our report in July, and November foreclosure activity was at the lowest level we've seen since February," RealtyTrac's CEO James J. Saccacio said in a press release.
"Loan modifications and other foreclosure prevention efforts, along with the recently extended and expanded homebuyer tax credit, are keeping a lid on the most visible symptoms of the nation's ailing housing market — foreclosures and home value depreciation," he said.
"This is providing a welcome respite for the real estate industry, but a full recovery will only come when unemployment recedes to normal, healthy levels and when availability of credit reaches a more rational balance between the extremes of the past few years."
One in every 417 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing during November, the Irvine, Calif., company said.
Default notices nationwide were down 8% from the previous month but still up 22% from November 2008; scheduled foreclosure auctions were down 12% from the previous month but up 32% from the year earlier, and bank repossessions were flat from the previous month and down 2% from November 2008.
Nevada foreclosure activity decreased by a double-digit percentage for the second straight month, but the state continued to post the nation's top foreclosure rate, with one in every 119 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in November — 3.5 times the national average.
Florida posted the nation's second-highest state foreclosure rate in November.
For the second month in a row, the same four states accounted for 52% of the nation's total foreclosure activity: California, Florida, Illinois and Michigan.