|The last time new foreclosure filings have been this low was during the height of the real estate bubble. All other foreclosure metrics also showed significant improvement.
U.S. foreclosure starts came in at 52,826 in November. Activity improved from the prior month, when 58,939 foreclosures were started.
Residential loan servicers have made an even more significant improvement compared to the same month in 2012, with year-over-year starts tumbling by 32 percent.
Foreclosure starts were at the lowest level since December 2005, when 49,236 properties started the foreclosure process.
The foreclosure figures were reported Thursday by RealtyTrac, which says it collects data from 2,200 U.S. counties that account for 90 percent of U.S. population.
New activity fell 18 percent in Florida, though the state still had more starts than any of its counterparts: 6,744.
California followed with 5,181, then 3,458 in New York, 3,409 in Texas and 2,825 in Illinois. North Dakota had the fewest starts with none filed.
A total of 113,454 filings -- including default notices, scheduled auctions and repossessions -- were made on U.S. properties last month, dropping from 133,919 in October.
RealtyTrac said that the 15 percent month-over-month decline was the biggest since November 2010, when foreclosure activity sank 21 percent following the revelation of the robo-signing scandal.
"While some of the decrease in November can be attributed to seasonality, 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," RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in the report. "While foreclosures will likely continue to stage a weak rally in certain markets next year as the last of the distress left over from the Great Recession is dealt with, it is highly unlikely that there will be a foreclosure comeback that poses any major threat to the solid housing recovery that has now taken hold."
In November 2012, 180,817 properties were hit with a filing.
There were 22,813 Florida properties that had a filing in November 2013, the most of any state. California was next with 12,450. After that was 7,552 in Illinois, 6,761 in Ohio and 4,273 in Texas.
Just one North Dakota property had a filing, the lowest level in the country.
One foreclosure was filed on each 1,155 U.S. housing units last month, RealtyTrac said. The rate was better than one-in-978 during October and one filing for each 728 housing units in November of last year.
Florida also dominated this category with one filing on each 392 homes last month. Among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, eight of the worst 10 MSAs were in Florida. Jacksonville's one-in-288 rates was the worst.
No. 2 was Delaware, where a foreclosure was filed on every 480 residential units. Maryland's one-in-618 followed, then South Carolina's one-in-660 and Illinois' one-in-700.
The most favorable foreclosure rate in the country was in North Dakota, where just one filing was made on every 315,517 housing units.
Servicers completed 30,461 U.S. foreclosures in November.
Repossessions declined from 37,715 in the prior report and plummeted from 59,134 in the same month during 2012.
Year-to-date through Nov. 30, foreclosures completed amounted to 431,349.
Real-estate-owned filings by state were mostly in line with foreclosure starts and overall filings, with Florida leading the country at 6,936 repossessions followed by California's 2,873 REO filings.
No. 3 was Illinois, where 2,392 foreclosures completed, then Ohio's 1,910 repossessions and Georgia's 1,598 REOs.
Just one foreclosure was completed in North Dakota -- the fewest of any state.