While the decline in foreclosure activity is still ragged on a month-to-month basis significant changes are increasingly evident year-over-year. CoreLogic said today that the number of properties in some state of foreclosure was down by a quarter in March compared to a year earlier and completed foreclosures declined by 15.5 percent.
The company said there were 41,000 completed foreclosures in March, down from 48,000 in March 2014 but 7 percent more homes were lost to foreclosure during the month than in February when 38,000 foreclosures were reported. Completed foreclosures are now down 65.2 percent from the peak in September 2010. Since September 2008 when the financial crisis is said to have begun approximately 5.6 million homes have been foreclosed.
Taken together the five states with the highest number of foreclosures for the 12 months ending in March accounted for almost half of those in the entire nation. They were Florida (110,000), Michigan (50,000), Texas (34,000), Georgia (28,000) and Ohio (28,000).
There were 542,000 homes in the process of foreclosure in March, an annual change of -25.7 percent. The inventory represented 1.4 percent of all mortgaged homes, returning the foreclosure inventory rate to March 2008 levels. The rate in March 2014 was 1.9 percent and the inventory was composed of 729,000 homes. On a month-over-month basis the inventory was down 1.3 percent.
Four states and the District of Columbia topped the list with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes: New Jersey (5.3 percent), New York (3.9 percent), Florida (3.3 percent), Hawaii (2.7 percent) and the District of Columbia (2.5 percent).
The serious delinquency rate (90 days or more past due or in foreclosure) declined by 19.1 percent in March compared to a year earlier. The March rate was 3.9 percent, the lowest rate since May 2008. On a monthly basis the serious delinquency rate was down 1.9 percent.
"We are seeing additional improvement in housing market conditions due to a decline in the serious delinquency rate to 3.9 percent, far below the peak of 8.6 percent in early 2010," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Despite the decline in the number of loans that are 90 days or more delinquent or in foreclosure, the percent of homeowners struggling to keep up is still well above the pre-recession average of 1.5 percent."
"Foreclosures and serious delinquency rates continue to drop as the home purchase market begins to emerge from its eight-year slump," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "Based on the current trends in completed foreclosure rates, we expect the foreclosure inventory to drop below 1.3 percent by midyear, a level not seen since the end of 2007. Many states in the Northeast and Midwest, as well as Florida, still have elevated levels of distressed housing, but they are making more rapid progress as of late. In March, foreclosures in these areas accounted for a large proportion of completed foreclosures."