Distressed housing measures continued on a somewhat jagged path toward normalcy in July according to preliminary numbers released by Black Knight Financial Services today.  The company's "Early Look" at some of the data from its monthly Mortgage Monitor report due out next week again shows a general downward trend in delinquencies and foreclosure activity.

Foreclosure starts rose again, the third consecutive month they have done so.  The number of properties entering foreclosure rose 2.72 percent from June to 90,700 but despite the increase starts are down 19.59 percent from July 2013.

The number of properties 30 or more days past due but not yet in foreclosure dropped by 34,000 in July to 2.85 million, 344,000 fewer delinquencies than in July 2013.  The 30+ day delinquency rate at the end of July was 5.64 percent, a decline of 1.13 percent from June and 12.07 percent from a year earlier.

Of the total delinquent loans that are not yet in foreclosure 1.14 million were seriously delinquent, that is more than 90 days past due, at the end of July.  This is a drop of 19,000 month-over-month and 211,000 since the previous July.

The foreclosure inventory - loans that are in the process of foreclosure, is at its lowest point since March 2008.  The inventory, which currently numbers 935,000 properties, has fallen by 16,000 units since June and by 471,000 units over the previous year.  The foreclosure inventory represented 1.85 percent of all mortgaged homes in the U.S. in July, down 1.65 percent from June and 34.44 percent from July 2013.

The total count of distressed loans - including those 30 or more days past due and those in foreclosure - was 3.79 million at the end of July.  This is a decrease of 49,000 from the end of June and 814,000 from a year previous.

Foreclosure sales rose to 1.85 percent of those homes that were delinquent more than 90 days, up 7.09 percent for the month but 9.95 percent lower than a year earlier.

Black Knight also said that the prepayment rate, which is closely tied to the rate of refinancing, was up more that 10 percent in July.  This was the fifth consecutive increase in prepayments.