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Foreclosure filings were down nationwide in November but rose in the Seattle area, according to a new report.

The number of nationwide filings fell 3 percent from October and 19.4 percent from November 2011, the foreclosure data firm RealtyTrac reported. But King County and Washington filings both rose by nearly 21 percent from October and by 18.6 percent and 45.4 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.

"The drop in overall foreclosure (U.S.) activity in November was caused largely by a 71-month low in foreclosure starts for the month, more evidence that we are past the worst of the foreclosure problem brought about by the housing bubble bursting six years ago," RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in the report.

But foreclosures are continuing to hobble the U.S. housing market as lenders finally seize properties that started the process a year or two ago — and much longer in some cases. We're likely not completely out of the woods when it comes to foreclosure starts, either, as lenders are still adjusting to new foreclosure ground rules set forth in the National Mortgage Settlement along with various state laws and court rulings.

Despite the increases, King County and Washington still have lower foreclosure rates than the nation. One in every 894 homes in the county and 756 homes in the state got a foreclosure filing in November, compared with one in every 728 homes nationwide.

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