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More than 259,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice in November, down 7% from October, but 28% higher than a year ago, according to the research firm RealtyTrac. Some 78,000 folks actually had their home repossessed.
The falling month-over-month number doesn’t mean there’s a bottom to the crisis. Many lenders have initiated foreclosure freezes for the holidays. And some state laws have made it more difficult for lenders to take back homes.
Indeed many experts expect a spike in foreclosure filings in the new year. Some homeowners are deliberately not making their payments to try to qualify for loan modification programs. Other homeowners who entered into payment plans with lenders earlier in the year may still find themselves unable to cover their expenses.
The Federal Reserve predicts that new foreclosures this year will reach about 2.25 million, more than double pre-crisis levels.
In RealtyTrac’s report, Nevada, Florida and Arizona had the nation’s top foreclosure rates.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.