Completed foreclosures increased by nearly 6 percent in March, moving from 45,000 in February to 48,000.  CoreLogic said this morning that there were, however 10 percent fewer foreclosures than in March 2013 when 53,000 homes were foreclosed.  The total number of foreclosures for the 12 months ended in March declined for the 27th consecutive month and was the lowest aggregate sum since December 2007. 

The company estimates that there have been about 5 million homes lost to foreclosure since the housing crisis began in September 2008 and, while the incidence is down dramatically from the peak, foreclosures are still running at nearly twice what might be considered a normal pace.  As a basis of comparison the company said that between 2000 and 2006 foreclosures nationwide averaged around 21,000 per month.

The foreclosure inventory or number of homes in some stage of foreclosure is also down substantially, 37 percent from one year ago.  CoreLogic estimates that there are approximately 720,000 homes throughout the country in foreclosure compared to 1.1 million in March 2013.  It was the 29th month the inventory has declined on an annual basis.  The inventory in March represented 1.8 percent of all mortgaged homes in the country compared to March 2013 when the inventory rate was 2.8 percent.  On a month-over-month basis the inventory is down 5.1 percent.



"The inventory of homes in foreclosure and serious delinquency status are back to 2008 levels, yet remain elevated from a historical perspective," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "While getting healthier, the housing market is a long way from being fully recovered.  By way of comparison, distressed stock inventories are more than three times higher than the levels of the early 2000s, before the most-recent housing boom and subsequent financial crisis."

The states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ended in March were Florida (122,000), Michigan (49,000), Texas (39,000), California (34,000) and Georgia (33,000).These five states account for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.

The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were New Jersey (6.0 percent), Florida (5.8 percent), New York (4.6 percent), Maine (3.2 percent) and Hawaii (3.1 percent).

The national delinquency rate in March was 4.7 percent.  The highest delinquency rate in the country and the only one still running in double digits was in Florida, a judicial foreclosure state, with a rate of 10.3 percent.

"The pathway to a full recovery in housing is proving to be a very long one, but lower distressed stock levels are one clear indicator that we continue to make slow-but-steady progress," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "Most states have made good progress clearing their foreclosure inventories but states that have a longer judicial foreclosure process such as Florida, New Jersey and New York, continue to struggle with elevated distressed stock inventories."