Despite another month-over-month uptick, foreclosures continue to decline on an annual basis and, according to a report from CoreLogic today, are now down 52 percent from the peak in 2010.  The company's National foreclosure Report for March showed that foreclosures increased 6.2 percent from February to March 2013 but the March activity was 15.8 percent below that of one year earlier.

Fifty-five thousand foreclosures were completed in March compared to 52,000 in February and 66,000 in March 2012.  By way of comparison, during the pre-recession years of 2000 to 2006 foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month on a national basis.  Since the foreclosure crisis began in the fall of 2008 there have been approximately 4.2 million foreclosures and there were 735,000 over the 12 month period ending in March.

The states with the highest number of foreclosures over that 12 month period were Florida (103,000), California (83,000) and Michigan (70,000).  However when foreclosures are viewed in the context of the number of outstanding mortgages Michigan led the nation with one completed foreclosure in the past 12 months for every 19 mortgages followed by Arizona with one in 27 and Florida at one in 28.  The national average was one in 55 mortgages. 

The foreclosure inventory - the number of homes in some stage of foreclosure, currently stands at around 1.1 million homes, down 23 percent from the 1.5 million homes in foreclosure in March 2012 and a 1.9 percent monthly decline.  This inventory represents 2.8 percent of all mortgaged homes in the U.S. compared to 3.5 percent in February 2012 (sic).  This was the 17th consecutive month when the inventory declined on an annual basis.

Florida leads the states with nearly 9.7 percent of its homes in some state of foreclosure followed at a distance by New Jersey (7.3 percent) and New York (5.0).  Of the ten states with the highest percentage of homes in foreclosure all but two, Nevada and Rhode Island, are states using the judicial foreclosure process.  The lowest foreclosure inventories by percent are all in sparsely populated states - Wyoming (0.5 percent), Alaska (0.7 percent), and North Dakota (0.7 percent).

The inventory has declined in 46 states with some of the most troubled states, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Nevada, experiencing the largest decreases, all in excess of 6 percent.

Anand Naliathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic said, "For 17 consecutive months, foreclosures have declined year over year across the U.S.  Although we still have more than a million homes in some stage of foreclosure, this trend, combined with rising home prices, is another signal of a gradually improving housing market."