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REOs swell near record level in July

RealtyTrac stats show slowdown in foreclosure starts

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The number of homes entering the foreclosure process fell sharply in July compared to a year ago, but homes continued to gush out the other end of the foreclosure pipeline and were repossessed by lenders at near record levels, according the latest numbers from data aggregator RealtyTrac.Lenders repossessed 92,858 homes in July, up 9 percent from June and 6 percent from a year ago, RealtyTrac said. It was the eighth month in a row where bank repossessions were at a higher level than the same time a year ago.The monthly tally of homes becoming "real estate owned" (REO) has been higher only once since RealtyTrac began tracking it in the spring of 2005. The all-time record for bank repossessions was set in May, when lenders took back 93,777 properties.But the number of homes beginning the foreclosure process when lenders served their owners with default notices was essentially flat from June to July, at 97,123. That's a 28 percent decline from the same time a year ago, and a 32 p...