The number of US homes entering the path to foreclosure or winding up repossessed by lenders has fallen to levels not seen in more than six years. While foreclosures remain a concern in select states, the trend is the latest sign that foreclosures are becoming less of a national factor in the housing recovery. Lenders initiated foreclosure action against 52,826 US houses in November, down 10% from the previous month and a drop of 32% from November last year, according RealtyTrac's latest numbers.
The last time the tally of monthly foreclosure starts was lower was in December 2005. The number of homes repossessed by banks increased in only five states: Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, Maine, and Iowa—all states where the courts must sign off on foreclosures, a factor that typically draws out the process longer than in other states. But some of the decline was due to seasonal slowdown as the end of the year draws near, which could mean a bump early next year, one RealtyTrac executive warned. (Read more foreclosures stories.)