Foreclosure related filings fell by almost 30% in the first-half to 1.17 million actions, but it appears much of the drop is attributable to processing and procedural delays, according to new figures compiled by RealtyTrac.

The analytics firm estimates that as many as 1 million foreclosure actions that should have taken place in 2011 will now happen in 2012, or perhaps even later. “This casts an ominous shadow over the housing market, where recovery is unlikely to happen until the current and forthcoming inventory of distressed properties can be whittled down to a manageable number,” said RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio.

The 30% decline is in comparison to the first-half of 2010. Compared to the prior six months, the drop is 25%. 

Meanwhile, Nevada, Arizona and California continue to suffer with the highest foreclosure rates in the nation.

Nearly 5% of all Nevada housing units (one in 21) received at least one foreclosure filing in the first-half of 2011. Arizona registered the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate in the first-half of 2010, with 2.82% of its housing units (one in 36) receiving a foreclosure filing. California registered the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate, with 1.96% of its housing units (one in 51) receiving a foreclosure filing during the six months.

Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the nation’s 10 highest were Utah (1.65%), Georgia (1.50%), Idaho (1.49%), Michigan (1.34%), Florida (1.28%), Colorado (1.19%), and Illinois (1.15%).

“It would be nice to report that foreclosure activity is dropping as a result of improvements in the economy or the housing market,” added Saccacio. “Unfortunately, with unemployment rates inching back up, consumer confidence weak and home sales and prices continuing to languish, this doesn’t appear to be the case.”

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