Despite fears that a high unemployment rate would trigger a wave of foreclosure filings, U.S. foreclosure activity decreased nearly 8 percent in November, according RealtyTrac’s monthly U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.

RealtyTrac collects distressed property data from more than 2,200 counties nationwide, representing more than 90 percent of the U.S. population.

Foreclosure filings — including default notices, scheduled foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions — were up 18 percent year-over-year, but down 15 percent from from their peak in July, when one in every 355 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing.

Despite fears that a high unemployment rate would trigger a wave of foreclosure filings, U.S. foreclosure activity decreased nearly 8 percent in November, according RealtyTrac’s monthly U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.

RealtyTrac collects distressed property data from more than 2,200 counties nationwide, representing more than 90 percent of the U.S. population.

Foreclosure filings — including default notices, scheduled foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions — were up 18 percent year-over-year, but down 15 percent from from their peak in July, when one in every 355 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing.

That rate is now one in every 417 units for a total of 306,627 U.S. properties. November is the ninth straight month that more than 300,000 properties nationwide have received foreclosure filings.

"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," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, in a statement.

"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," he added.

Although Nevada foreclosure activity decreased significantly for the second straight month, the state continues to suffer the nation’s top foreclosure rate with one in every 119 housing units receiving a filing in November. That’s 3.5 times the national average.

Florida posted the second-highest rate, one in 165, and took the No. 2 spot from California, which was bumped down to No. 3, at one in 180. Arizona and Idaho were next on the list with one in 186 and one in 259 filings, respectively. …CONTINUED

For the second month in a row, the same four states accounted for 52 percent of the nation’s total foreclosure activity: California, Florida, Illinois and Michigan.

Despite four straight month-over-month decreases, California continued to post the highest raw number total with 73,995 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in November. This was up 22 percent from November 2008, but down nearly 32 percent from its July peak of 108,104.

The state accounts for seven of the top 10 metro foreclosure rates in the nation, with its Central Valley cities of Merced, Stockton and Modesto leading the pack at one in 83, one in 85, and one in 87 foreclosure filings respectively.

Florida’s Cape Coral-Fort Myers (one in 86) and Orlando-Kissimmee (one in 120) metro areas were also in the top 10. A total of 52,935 Florida properties received foreclosure filings in November, an increase of nearly 2 percent from the previous month and up nearly 8 percent from November 2008.

The remaining metro area in the top 10 was Las Vegas, which, after four straight months at the top, fell to No. 5 thanks to a 33 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous month. One in every 102 Las Vegas housing units received a foreclosure filing in November — still more than four times the national average.

Illinois foreclosure activity decreased nearly 18 percent from a record high in October, but the state’s 16,422 properties receiving foreclosure filings in November was still nearly 108 percent higher year-over-year and third highest among all the states.

A total of 15,988 Michigan properties received foreclosure filings in November, a decrease of nearly 3 percent from the previous month but still nearly 10 percent above the state’s total in November 2008.

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