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There are some good signs on the foreclosure front this morning, but if you're hoping for long-term improvement, don't hold your breath.

The number of foreclosure auction notices and home repossessions in the St. Louis region dipped to its lowest level since at least 2007 in the first quarter, according to new numbers from data firm RealtyTrac. With 1,553 local homes in later stages of the foreclosure process, filings fell 19.8 percent from the fourth quarter.

Nationwide, RealtyTrac recorded a similar decline of 15 percent.

This is good news. But the company's researchers don't expect it to last.

The declines seen lately, they say, are tied to processing delays that stem from the so-called "robo-signing" scandal last fall. That has banks taking more time on foreclosures, and has courts in some states slowing down the process. It's worth noting, RealtyTrac says, that filings have fallen more sharply in "judicial foreclosure" states where a judge has a role in the process. Illinois is a judicial foreclosure state. Missouri is not. When the backlog is cleared up, RealtyTrac says, expects foreclosures to climb again.

But, for now, enjoy the lull.



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