US Foreclosure Rates Plunged in November

RealtyTrac, the mortgage research firm, reports that foreclosures fell sharply in November. It may be a sign that the housing market has hit bottom. The company said, “its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for November 2010, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 262,339 U.S. properties in November, a 21 percent decrease from the previous month and a 14 percent decrease from November 2009. One in every 492 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month.”

The news may not be as good as it seems. The data could cause buyers and housing analysts to see a mirage.

“Foreclosure activity decreased dramatically in November, with fewer than 300,000 properties receiving a foreclosure notice for the first time since February 2009,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer at RealtyTrac. “While part of the decrease can be attributed to a seasonal drop of 7 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.”

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