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Two New Jersey cities top November U.S. metro foreclosure rates

(Reuters) - Two New Jersey metropolitan areas, Atlantic City and Trenton, had the highest U.S. metro foreclosure rates in November, RealtyTrac data showed on Thursday.

It was the fifth straight month for Atlantic City and the surrounding area as U.S. poster child for foreclosures. One in every 307 homes in or near Atlantic City had a foreclosure filing in November, compared to one in 1,268 nationally.

It held that position even as its rate dropped by 16 percent from the previous month and nearly 6 percent from November 2014.

In Trenton, the state capital, foreclosure activity in November rose 32 percent from a year ago and posted the second highest national rate at one in every 346 housing units.

New Jersey itself had the second highest foreclosure rate among all U.S. states in November, behind Maryland. Florida, Nevada and Illinois rounded out the top five states.

Overall national foreclosure activity was down 10 percent in November from the previous month and 7 percent lower than the same month last year.

The monthly drop was caused mostly by a 10-year low in foreclosure starts, with just 41,208 properties starting the process for the first time in November.

“Banks are continuing to work through the backlog of lingering foreclosures, pushing bank repossession numbers higher in the short term even as foreclosure starts drop to new lows,” RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in a statement.

“The share of active foreclosures tied to bubble-era loans is shrinking, with 59 percent of all loans in foreclosure originated between 2004 and 2008,” he said, adding that the portion was 61 percent a year ago and 75 percent two years ago.

Reporting by Hilary Russ in New York; Editing by David Gregorio