A sign hangs outside a foreclosed home in North Las Vegas, Nevada.
A sign hangs outside a foreclosed home in North Las Vegas, Nevada. - 
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The number of new homes people started to build was up in November, more than expected. Couple that with news from RealtyTrac that there were 21 percent fewer foreclosure filings for the month, and you could be thinking the housing market's on the rebound. But the number of permits for future home construction is still weak. And the foreclosure drop mostly reflects paperwork issues.

Marketplace's Janet Babin reports.

JANET BABIN: Federal and state investigations into questionable mortgage lender practices are what reduced a lot of foreclosures around the country. Like the Robo signers -- those people who signed foreclosure documents without ever actually verifying information. RealtyTrac's Rick Sharga says the the only people who'll benefit from the stall, are homeowners facing foreclosure:

RICH SHARGA: From an economic standpoint, this stall is actually bad news. Because what it does now is it delays the processing of these properties out into the marketplace where they really need to be pushed and then resold.

Some analysts say RealtyTrac's numbers are sometimes inflated anyway. The company can count one foreclosure multiple times, as it goes through different steps in the foreclosure process.

In New I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.