Completed mortgage foreclosures have declined 23 percent in the last year according to information released this morning by CoreLogic.  There were 55,000 completed foreclosures nationwide in November compared to 72,000 in November 2011.  The November total is 6 percent below the 59,000 completed foreclosures in October.

Completed foreclosures are a measure of the number of homes taken by lenders; since the financial crisis began in 2008 there have been over 4.0 million.   Even with the recent improvements in the rate of these transactions, CoreLogic points out that foreclosures are still running at better than twice the rate of more normal times.  Between 2000 and 2006 completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month.

There were approximately 1.2 million homes in some stage of foreclosure (the foreclosure inventory) in November, about 3.0 percent of all homes with a mortgage.  In November 2011 there were 1.5 million homes or3.5 percent of all mortgaged homes in the inventory.  This is a decrease of 18 percent year-over-year.

Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic said, "The pace of completed foreclosures has significantly improved over a year ago as short sales gain popularity as a disposition method. Additionally, the inventory of foreclosed properties continues to decline while the housing market demonstrates an ongoing ability to absorb the distressed sales that result from completed foreclosures."

The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in November 2012 were: California (102,000), Florida (94,000), Michigan (75,000), Texas (58,000) and Georgia (52,000).These five states account for 50 percent of all completed foreclosures nationally.

The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were: Florida (10.4 percent), New Jersey (7.3 percent), New York (5.1 percent), Nevada (4.7 percent) and Illinois (4.7 percent).