The U.S. foreclosure inventory rate dropped below 2 percent in May for the first time since the summer of 2008.  The rate, which reflects the percentage of mortgaged homes in the country that are in some stage of the foreclosure process, was 1.91 percent at the end of May.  This was a month-over-month decrease of 5.56 percent and a year-over-year change of -37.23 percent. In terms of numbers there were 966,000 properties in the foreclosure pre-sale inventory in May, down 50,000 from April and a decrease of 559,000 in the past year.

Monthly foreclosure statistics for May were released today by Black Knight Financial Services.  The company's complete Mortgage Monitor containing month-end performance statistics derived from its loan level data base will be published on July 2.

The U.S. delinquency rate, the percentage of mortgage loans which are 30 or more days past due but not in foreclosure, was essentially unchanged from April down 18,000 units or 0.01 percent to 5.62 percent or 2.84 million units.  The number of delinquencies has dropped by 204,000 since last May a decrease of 7.55 percent.  Of those delinquent loans 1.17 million are 90 days past due but not in foreclosure, a decrease of 18,000 since April and 166,000 from May 2013.

The total number of distressed properties - either delinquent or in foreclosure - was 3.81 million at the end of May.  This was 32,000 fewer than at the end of April and a 763,000 unit decrease from one year earlier. Lenders initiated foreclosure on 86,300 properties in May, up 9.52 percent from April but a year-over-year change of -26.11 percent.

Black Knight said that foreclosure sales in May represented just under 2 percent of the properties that were 90 or more days delinquent.  This metric was 0.35 percent lower than in April and 1.28 percent below the rate in May 2013.

Mississippi had the highest percentage of non-current mortgages at 13.75 percent followed by New Jersey at 12.62 percent and Florida at 11.28 percent.  New York had the fourth largest percentage at 10.91 and Louisiana at 10.66 percent was fifth.  

Even though Florida has the nation's third highest non-current loan rate it has shown the greatest improvement over the previous 6-months as that rate declined by 22.53 percent.  Nevada was close behind as its rate dropped by 22.26 percent.  Arizona, California, and Maryland also had significant declines of 18 to 19.5 percent.

Prepayment rates, an indication of possible refinancing, increased by a slight 0.90 percent, an increase of 3.45 percent from April.  The rate is down 55.68 percent from one year earlier.