The foreclosure inventory has fallen by nearly a quarter in the last year according to data released today by CoreLogic.  Approximately 1.1 million homes were in some stage of the legal process leading to foreclosure in April, down from 1.5 million in April 2012, a decrease of 24 percent.  The inventory was down two percent from March to April this year and now represents 2.8 percent of all homes in the country with a mortgage.   

There were 52,000 completed foreclosures in the U.S. in April, approximately the same number as in March but 10,000 fewer than one year earlier.  By way of comparison CoreLogic says that the average number of foreclosures completed during the more "normal" 2000 to 2006 period was about 21,000 per month.  There have been approximately 4.4 million homes lost to foreclosure since the financial crisis began in September 2008.

"The shadow of foreclosure and distress continues to fade, with the annualized sum of completed foreclosures having declined for 17 straight months," said Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Six states have year-over-year declines in the foreclosure inventory of more than 40 percent, and in Arizona and California the year-over-year decline is more than 50 percent."

"The shadow inventory continued to drop in April as the number of completed foreclosures fell by 16 percent on a year-over-year basis," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "Fewer distressed properties combined with improving home prices and a pickup in home purchases are significant signals that the ongoing recovery in the housing and mortgage markets continues to gather steam."

The states with the highest percentage of homes in the foreclosure inventory are Florida (9.5 percent), New Jersey (7.4 percent), New York (5.1 percent), Maine (4.4 percent) and Nevada (4.3 percent).  The highest number of completed foreclosures over the 12 months period ending in April were in Florida (102,000),California (79,000), Michigan (68,000), Texas (53,000) and Georgia (47,000).These five states account for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.