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Charlotte foreclosures drop 59% in November

Charlotte-area foreclosure activity fell 59 percent in November from a year ago for the sixth straight month of year-over-year declines as the U.S. continued its recovery from the foreclosure crisis.

The Charlotte region reported 746 filings for the month, down from 1,825 a year ago, according to Irvine, Calif.-based data firm RealtyTrac. The region has logged annual declines, all of them double-digit, since June.

RealtyTrac tracks default notices, auctions and bank repossessions.

Across the country, filings fell 37 percent from a year ago as foreclosure starts hit a 95-month low.

Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said that while part of the national decline in November can be attributed to seasonal factors, “the depth and breadth of the decrease provides strong evidence that we are entering the ninth inning of this foreclosure crisis with the outcome all but guaranteed.”

Nationally, foreclosures will are likely to stage a weak rally in parts of the U.S. next year, as remaining distressed properties are dealt with, Blomquist said. It’s “highly unlikely” that the U.S. will experience a foreclosure comeback that could pose a major threat to the housing recovery, he said.

In Charlotte and nationwide, fewer properties are falling into foreclosure in part because of rising home prices, real estate insiders say. Charlotte-area home prices rose 9.2 percent on average in November from a year ago, climbing to $223,725 from $204,820, the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association said Monday.

As home prices increase, fewer homeowners are underwater – owing more on their homes then they are worth. Underwater homeowners are more likely to give up on paying their mortgages and allow their homes to fall into foreclosure.

In a September report, RealtyTrac said 17 percent of Charlotte-area homeowners with a mortgage were “seriously underwater” compared with 23 percent the year before. The decline was driven by homeowners regaining equity in their properties as prices increase, RealtyTrac said.

Compared with October, foreclosure filings in the Charlotte area fell 20 percent in November. The national decline was 15 percent.

In November, the largest decline in Charlotte-area foreclosure filings came from trustee sale notices, which fell 91 percent from a year ago. The notices, which announce a public auction, dropped to 79 from 856. Default notices, the only category to rise, increased to 295 from 10 a year ago.

The Charlotte region is poised to end 2013 with the fewest foreclosure filings since 8,198 in 2006. Since the downturn, the region’s largest number of filings was logged in 2010 at 17,946. So far this year, the region has reported 10,110 filings.

Roberts: 704-358-5248; Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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