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RealtyTrac: US home repossessions fell in April

LOS ANGELES — Fewer homes entered the foreclosure process or were repossessed by lenders last month, the latest indication the nation’s foreclosure woes are waning.

Repossessions fell 20 percent in April from March and were down 32 percent from a year earlier, RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

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Foreclosure starts, the initial step, fell 4 percent from March and 28 percent from April 2012, the firm said.

Even so, homes scheduled for auction in states where the courts play a role in the foreclosure process hit the highest level in more than two years.

Most homes lined up for public auction end up going back to lenders, which opens the door for the properties to be sharply discounted.

Still, the prospect that a flurry of homes will end up on the market is good news, said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac, because the housing rebound over the past year has been fueled in part by rising home values amid a lagging supply ofproperties for sale.

‘‘More foreclosed homes for sale should help fan the flames of a housing recovery,” he said. He doesn’t anticipate home prices will decline when those homes hit the market.

All told, 70,133 homes started on the foreclosure path last month. Homes scheduled for auction rose 6 percent in April from the previous month, but declined 20 percent versus April of last year, RealtyTrac said. On the tail end of the process, lenders repossessed 34,997 homes last month, the fewest since July 2007. At the current pace, completed foreclosures will hit over 500,000 this year, Blomquist said. That would be down from 671,000 last year.

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