The robo-signing controversy continues to slow the progress of homes through the foreclosure process and into lenders’ real estate owned inventories, the latest numbers from mortgage-data aggregator Lender Processing Services show.

A record 2.16 million first-lien mortgages were in some stage of the foreclosure process at the end of November, LPS said — the fifth consecutive monthly increase.

The backlog is growing in part because delinquent borrowers are still being referred for foreclosure, but the sale of foreclosure properties continued to decline, LPS said.

LPS counted 261,153 foreclosure starts in November, about the same number in October and an 18.5 percent increase from a year ago. LPS said foreclosure sales and homes moving into REO inventories were down, but did not provide any figures.

Meanwhile, LPS said, the number of homeowners who are delinquent on their loans but not yet in foreclosure continues to decline.

Some 4.77 million homeowners were behind on their payments at the end of November, LPS estimated, down nearly 4 percent from October and more than 20 percent from a peak for the year of 6 million in January.

The number of homeowners who’d missed one payment dropped nearly 5 percent from October to November, to 1.83 million, reversing three months of growth in that forward-looking statistic. The number of 30-day delinquent loans was down 9 percent from January.

Another 771,460 first-lien loans were 60 days delinquent, a decrease of nearly 3 percent from October and 17 percent from January.

Some 2.16 million homeowners were behind on their payments by 90 days or more, down 3 percent from October and 29 percent from January.

All told, LPS estimated that about 6.92 million homeowners had missed at least one mortgage payments or were in foreclosure in November, down nearly 15 percent from January’s high of 8.12 million.

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