U.S. foreclosure filings fell for the third straight month in October — which "at first blush" may indicate the tide is turning, though fundamental forces driving foreclosures "continue to loom," with filings up about 19 percent compared to October 2008, foreclosure data provider RealtyTrac reported today.

James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer for RealtyTrac, reported that "high-risk mortgages, negative equity and unemployment" are among the contributors to higher foreclosure activity on a year-over-year basis in most states.

RealtyTrac reported 332,292 U.S. foreclosure filings in October, down 3.3 percent from September and up 18.9 percent compared to October 2008.

Nevada had the highest rate of foreclosure filings, with one in 80 housing units in that state receiving a foreclosure filing in October — and a total of 13,842 Nevada properties receiving a filing. That volume, though, actually represents a 4 percent decline from October 2008.

RealtyTrac noted that a state-mandated foreclosure mediation program implemented in Nevada in July "may be slowing the inflow of distressed properties into the foreclosure pipeline."

California had the second-highest foreclosure rate in October, RealtyTrac reported, with one in every 156 housing units in the state receiving a foreclosure filing that month — a total of 85,420 properties. That rate is down 1 percent from September but up about 50 percent from October 2008.

Florida was third on the list, with one in 168 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, and a total of 51,911 properties receiving a filing that month.

Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Maryland and Utah also ranked among the top 10 for the highest rate of foreclosure filings, and 52 percent of the nation’s total foreclosure activity in October was in four states: California, Florida, Illinois and Michigan, according to RealtyTrac data.

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