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The Associated Press November 7, 2011, 12:55PM ET

Fitch: Foreclosure rates are now twice last year's

Foreclosures on delinquent U.S. mortgages have almost doubled from this time last year, according to the latest reading from Fitch Ratings.

The higher foreclosure rates mean U.S. housing prices will probably fall another 10 percent before stabilizing, the ratings agency said Monday.

The rate of new foreclosures on delinquent loans has risen to over 10 percent a month, according to Fitch's latest RMBS (residential mortgage-backed security) Performance Metric. That's almost double the historical lows from a year ago, and is close to the 14 percent average rate between 2000 and 2010.

Fitch said foreclosures were lower this time last year after industrywide deficiencies in foreclosure procedures were revealed. Many foreclosures were found to be authorized by automatic "robo-signatures," rather than being properly evaluated by bank employees.

Fitch said the higher foreclosure rate will push housing prices lower by increasing the inventory of houses on the market. But the full number of new houses on the market won't be evident for another year, according to Fitch.

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