There were a total of 43,000 completed foreclosure in February, CoreLogic said today.  This was 15 percent fewer than in February 2013 when foreclosures numbered 51,000.  It was also 7,000 fewer foreclosures than in January 2014, a decrease of 13.1 percent. The company said that since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 4.9 million completed foreclosures nationally.   

Nearly half of all completed foreclosures in the U.S. over the 12 month period that ended in February were in five states.  Florida reported 118,000 foreclosures, Michigan 50,000, Texas 39,000, California 37,000, and Georgia 34,000. 

While completed foreclosures, the foreclosure inventory, and seriously delinquencies all showed notable improvements, the big news in CoreLogic's February 2014 National Foreclosure report was from its quarterly supplement on shadow inventory data.   Shadow inventory or the "pending supply" is calculated from the number of properties that are seriously delinquent, in foreclosure, or held as owned real estate (REO) by lenders but not currently listed for sale through Multiple Listing Services.  Throughout the housing crisis the shadow inventory has been viewed at the "next shoe" that could drop and impede recovery.   That threat seems to be rapidly disappearing.  CoreLogic estimates that the national residential shadow inventory stood at 1.7 million homes in January, down 23 percent from the estimated inventory of 2.2 million in January 2013.

The dollar value of the shadow inventory in January was $254 billion compared to $324 billion in January 2013 and $289 billion in July 2013.  CoreLogic said that from January 2013 to January 2014 the inventory had been decreasing at an average monthly rate of 41,000 units.

"Although there is good news that completed foreclosures are trending lower, the bigger news is the impressive decline in the foreclosure and shadow inventories," said Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Every state has had double-digit, year-over-year declines in foreclosure inventory, which is reflected in the $70 billion decline in the shadow inventory."

CoreLogic said that there were 752,000 homes in some stage of foreclosure in in February.  This foreclosure inventory has declined from 1.2 million in February 2013, a year-over-year decrease of 35 percent.  The inventory was down 3.3 percent from January to February.  The foreclosure inventory in February represented 1.9 percent of all mortgaged homes in the U.S.  One year earlier the inventory represented 2.9 percent of mortgaged homes.   

The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes as of February 2014 were New Jersey (6.2 percent), Florida (6.0 percent), New York (4.7 percent), Maine (3.4 percent) and Connecticut (3.2 percent).

At the end of February 2014, there were 1.9 million mortgages, or 4.9 percent, in serious delinquency, defined as 90 days or more past due, including those loans in foreclosure or real estate owned (REO).  In the 12 months ended in January every state saw a double digit decrease in the number of seriously delinquent loans.  Twenty-four states had decrease of at least 20 percent.

"The stock of seriously delinquent homes and the foreclosure rate are back to levels last seen in the final quarter of 2008," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "The shadow inventory has also declined year over year for the past 3 years as the housing market continues to heal, including double-digit declines for the past 16 consecutive months."