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November 11, 2010 –

The good news. Foreclosure filings were reported on 332,172 properties during the month of October, according to data released by RealtyTrac Thursday. That tally represents a 4 percent decrease from the previous month. RealtyTrac says the numbers probably would have been higher except for the fallout from the recent robo-signing controversy, which may result in further declines in November. Lenders seized 9 percent fewer homes last month than they did in September, before foreclosures were frozen in certain states.

The bad news. The number of homeowners with a mortgage debt that were underwater on their loan rose to nearly one-quarter — or 23.2% — in the third quarter, according to figures released Wednesday by the real estate provider Zillow.  With home values nationallay 25 percent below their June 2006 peak, the current housing downturn is approaching Great Depression-era declines, when home values fell 25.9 percent in five years (between 1929 and 1933).