December 11, 2014 / 5:01 AM / 5 years ago

Drop in repossessions cut U.S. foreclosure activity in November

WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Foreclosure activity across the United States fell in November as banks repossessed fewer homes and scheduled a lower number of auctions, according to a report released on Thursday.

RealtyTrac said foreclosure activity, which includes foreclosure notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, fell 9 percent last month from the prior month to 112,498 properties. The decrease left activity down 1 percent from the same period last year

The data firm said 50,102 homes were scheduled for auction, down 16 percent from October but up 5 percent from a year ago.

Lenders initiated the foreclosure process on 55,906 homes last month, a 1 percent drop from the prior month, the report said. Foreclosure starts, however, were up 6 percent from November last year.

The report showed a more upbeat housing market than in the prior month when a spike in home auctions caused the biggest jump in overall foreclosure activity in more than four years.

“The housing market is struggling to find the new normal when it comes to a tolerable level of foreclosure activity in this post-Great Recession economy,” RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in a statement.

“Finding that new normal requires striking a balance between too much loan risk, which would result in another housing meltdown, and too little risk, which could result in a stunted recovery,” he said.

Lenders reclaimed 25,249 homes in November, a 10 percent drop from the month before and a 17 percent decrease from November 2013.

Despite a 4 percent drop, Florida had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate in November, followed by New Jersey and Maryland. (Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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