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IRVINE, CA—A slight rise in US residentialforeclosure filings for the first time in threeyears indicates that lenders are pushing through lingeringnon-performing loans, says RealtyTrac's VPDaren Blomquist in a new report. The firm says foreclosure filings wereup in the third quarter .42% from the previous quarter—the firstquarterly increase since the third quarter of 2011—although thisfigure was down 16% from a year ago.

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The quarterly increase in overall foreclosure activity wasdriven by a 2% increase in default notices and a 7% quarterlyincrease in scheduled foreclosure auctions, RealtyTrac reports.Meanwhile, bank repossessionsdecreased 12% from the previous quarter.

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Looking at just the month of September, the number offoreclosure filings was down 9% from the previous month and down19% from a year ago to the lowest level since July 2006, whichrepresents a 98-month low. September marked the 48thconsecutive month where US foreclosure activity decreased on ayear-over-year basis.

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Blomquist says, “September foreclosure activity was back topre-housing-bubble levels nationwide, in largepart thanks to a continued slide in bank repossessions. However, arecent rise in scheduled foreclosure auctions in many marketsacross the country shows lenders are continuing to clean house oflingering delinquent loans. The rise in scheduled auctionsforeshadows a corresponding rise in bank repossessions and auctionsales to third-party buyers in the coming months.”

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Regarding whether we can expect this upward trend inforeclosures to continue, Blomquist tells GlobeSt.com, “In the nearterm, the rise in scheduled foreclosure auctions does indicate thatwe will see a rise in bank repossessions and auction sales tothird-party buyers in the coming months, but as banks work throughthe backlog it's likely that we will see a decline in foreclosuresin early 2015. After nearly four years of falling foreclosures, weare starting to see evidence that foreclosure numbers arenormalizing at the national level.”

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Blomquist adds that back in 2006 before the housing bubble burstand the Great Recession hit, we were averaging 85,000 foreclosurefilings a month; so far this year the average is 113,000 a month.“That's still above that 'normal' level, but it is much closer tonormal than it is to the peak of the foreclosure crisis in 2010,when the average was 319,000 foreclosure filings a month.”

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Despite the surprising foreclosure findings, overall thehousing recovery is continuing in most markets. AsGlobeSt.com reported earlier thisweek, the firm has released a2014 Election Housing Scorecard reportanalyzing the health of local housing markets in more than 1,500counties nationwide compared with two years ago and predicting USSenate race outcomes based on the results. A total of 52% of allthose analyzed were categorized as better off compared to two yearsago, while 11% fell into the worse-off category and 36% werecategorized a toss-up. A total of 50% of the total population inall housing markets analyzed for the report were in the better-offcategory, while 9% were in the worse-off markets and 41% were inthe toss-up pile.

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Carrie Rossenfeld

Carrie Rossenfeld is a reporter for the San Diego and Orange County markets on GlobeSt.com and a contributor to Real Estate Forum. She was a trade-magazine and newsletter editor in New York City before moving to Southern California to become a freelance writer and editor for magazines, books and websites. Rossenfeld has written extensively on topics including commercial real estate, running a medical practice, intellectual-property licensing and giftware. She has edited books about profiting from real estate and has ghostwritten a book about starting a home-based business.