Completed foreclosures rose slightly in September CoreLogic said today, but the long-term trend continues to be a relatively precipitous drop from the record high numbers of the last six years.  The company's September National Foreclosure Report notes a 4.7 percent increase in the number of homes lost to foreclosure during the month relative to the August number, 46,000 units compared to 44,000.  The September total however represents a year-over-year drop of 32.6 percent from 68,000 foreclosures the previous September 2013 and is 61 percent below the number at the peak of activity in 2010.

All 50 states posted a double-digit decline in completed foreclosures; Washington, DC had a 7.1 percent increase although it still remained among the areas with the smallest absolute number of completed foreclosures. Five states alone accounted for almost half of the foreclosures for the 12 months ending in September with 120,000 completed in Florida, 36,000 in Texas, and 31,000 in California.  Michigan and Georgia had 29,000 and 27,000 respectively.

Despite the large percentage declines completed foreclosures are still almost double the average in more "normal" times, approximately 21,000 per month in the years 2000 to 2006. .  Since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004 7 million homes have been foreclosed, 5.2 million of them since the beginning of the financial crisis in September 2008.   

CoreLogic said that the foreclosure inventory, a measure of  homes in the process of foreclosure, numbered 607,000 in September, 2.8 percent lower than in August and down from 924,000 one year earlier, a decrease of 34.3 percent.  The September inventory represented 1.6 percent of all homes with a mortgage compared to 2.3 percent in September 2013, the 35th consecutive month of year-over-year decreases and the 20th consecutive month those reductions have been at least 20 percent.  Twenty-nine states showed year-over-year drop in their foreclosure inventory of greater than 30 percent, with Arizona (-47.6 percent) and Utah (-47.1 percent) experiencing the largest declines.

"The level of serious delinquencies has rapidly declined over the last few years, but the pace of improvement is beginning to recede," said Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic." As of June, serious delinquencies were 26 percent lower than the prior year, but as of September serious delinquencies were 21 percent lower."

"The number of completed foreclosures ticked up a bit in September from the prior month and is still running above historic norms," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "Although the foreclosure inventory and rates of seriously delinquent loans remain elevated in many states, progress is being made and this bodes well for a better housing market in 2015 and beyond."