The foreclosure inventory was down nearly one-third in September when compared to a year earlier although the pace of completed foreclosures remained relatively steady. According to CoreLogic' September National Foreclosure Report, the inventory, which represents homes in the process of foreclosure, included approximately 340,000, or 0.9 percent, of all homes with a mortgage, compared with 493,000 homes, or 1.3 percent, in September 2015, a decline of 31.1 percent. The September 2016 foreclosure inventory was down 3.1 percent compared with August 2016.
The number of mortgages in serious delinquency, that is 90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure or REO, is also down a substantial 24.8 percent from September 2015 to September 2016. At the end of September there were 1 million mortgages, or 2.6 percent, in serious delinquency, the lowest level since August 2007. The decline was geographically broad with decreases in serious delinquency in 48 states and the District of Columbia.
The rate of completed foreclosures, however, has not fallen as rapidly. There were 36,000 foreclosures in September 2016 compared to 39,000 one year earlier, a decrease of 7.0 percent. The September number was up from 34,000 completed foreclosures in August, a gain of 5.2 percent. As a basis of comparison, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006. Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.4 million completed foreclosures nationally.
Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate in September 2016: New Jersey (3.0 percent), New York (2.7 percent), Maine (1.8 percent), Hawaii (1.8 percent) and the District of Columbia (1.6 percent).
The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in September 2016 were Florida (53,000), Texas (27,000), Michigan (24,000), Ohio (23,000) and Georgia (21,000). These five states accounted for 36 percent of completed foreclosures nationally.
"September's serious delinquency rate dropped by 25 percent compared to a year earlier, the third consecutive monthly acceleration in the rate of decline," said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. "This improvement is continued evidence of the recovery in the housing market, especially given that the decreases were fairly uniform in most cities across the country."
"Completed foreclosures have fallen by a total of more than 100,000 homes during the 12 months prior to September 2016," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "The decline in foreclosures is one of the drivers in the drop in vacancies, which is positive for homeowners and communities. Heading into 2017 we see that prices, performance and production - the three most important drivers of the real estate market - are all improving."