Foreclosure Filings Down 3% in October.

Foreclosure filings were down 3% in October, the third consecutive month-over-month dip, according to RealtyTrac, the online seller of foreclosed homes.

To be sure, foreclosure rates are still elevated from a year ago: They’re up 18% compared with October 2008. But the month-over-month decrease followed a 4% drop in filings during September and a 1% fall in August.

“Three consecutive monthly declines is unprecedented for our report, and, on first blush, an indication that the foreclosure tide may be turning,” said James Saccacio, RealtyTrac’s CEO, in a prepared statement.

“The fundamental forces driving foreclosure activity in this housing downturn — high-risk mortgages, negative equity, and unemployment — continue to loom over any nascent recovery,” he said. “And despite all the efforts and resources directed at helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, we continue to see foreclosure activity levels that are substantially higher than a year ago in most states.”

Rising unemployment rate may prove the the 3-month decline in foreclosures to be a short term deal.  Further unemployment will mean more foreclosures, so it is hard to say that the tide has turned.

And new state-level regulations have also lowered foreclosure statistics. One such rule that took effect July 1 in Nevada allows homeowners who receive notices of default to demand mandatory mediation with their lenders.

As a result, “There was a 27% drop in filings in October in Las Vegas,” said Sharga. “That hasn’t happened in, like, forever.”

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