Even as various indicators of foreclosure activity continue to tumble from their year ago levels, they still tend to bounce up and down from month to month.   CoreLogic today said that completed foreclosures were up again in May when compared to April while the foreclosure inventory fell.

Completed foreclosures numbered 47,000 in May 2014 compared to 52,000 in May 2013, a year-over-year change of -9.4 percent.  However completed foreclosures, an indication of the number of homes repossessed by a lender, rose by 2,000 or 3.8 percent from April to May.  Core-Logic said that there have been approximately 5 million completed foreclosures nationwide since the housing crisis began in September 2008, comparing this to the average of 21,000 foreclosures completed each month (an average of 252,000 per year) nationwide between 2000 and 2006.  

The foreclosure inventory, the number of homes in some stage of foreclosure, has now declined on a year-over-year basis for 31 straight months and stood at 600,000 units in May.  This is a -37 percent change from May 2013 when the inventory contained 1 million homes.  The May inventory represented 1.7 percent of all homes with a mortgage in the U.S compared to a rate of 2.6 percent a year earlier.  The April to May decline was 4.8 percent.  



"Significant gains have been made in the last year to reduce the foreclosure stock," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Yet, these improvements are occurring disproportionately in non-judicial states. The foreclosure inventory in judicial states is averaging 2.1 percent, which is more than twice the 0.9 percent average that is occurring in non-judicial states."

The improvement in foreclosure activity is apparent nationwide.  Every state posted double-digit year-over-year declines in completed foreclosures and 38 showed annual declines in their foreclosure inventories exceeding 30 percent.  In Arizona, Utah, Nebraska, and Minnesota those declines were over 50 percent.

Some states, however, are still experiencing significant activity.  Florida has had 122,000 completed foreclosures in the last 12 months, Michigan 44,000, and Texas 39,000.  The other two states in the top five were California (34,000) and Georgia (32,000.)  These five states combined had almost half of the completed foreclosures in the country.

The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were: New Jersey (5.8 percent), Florida (5.2 percent), New York (4.3 percent), Hawaii (3.1 percent) and Maine (2.8 percent).