The number of foreclosures were down 17.8% in January compared to a year ago, according to recent data from CoreLogic, marking it the 15th consecutive month with a year-over-year decline.
While the number of foreclosures dropped year-over-year, they increased on a monthly basis.
Month-over-month, completed foreclosures rose from 56,000 in December 2012 to the January 2013 level of 61,000, an increase of 10.5%.
“The backlog od distressed assets continues to fade a the foreclosure inventory has fallen to a level not seen since mid-2009, with less than 3 percent of all mortgages in foreclosure,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The improvement is widespread as only six states and 13 of the largest 100 metros had an increase in the foreclosure rate year over year.”
The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures during the year up to January 2013 included California (96,000), Florida (95,000), Michigan (74,000), Texas (59,000) and Georgia (50,000). These states accounted for almost half of all completed foreclosure activity, notes CoreLogic.
Those states that had the lowest number of foreclosures during the same period were District of Columbia (96), Hawaii (458), North Dakota (508), Maine (538), and West Virginia (602).
Before the decline of the housing market in 2007, CoreLogic notes that completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month between 2000-2006. Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, data show there have been approximately 4.2 million foreclosures nationwide.
As of January 2013, 1.2 million homes were in some stage of foreclosure, a 21% year-over-year decrease when compared to the 1.5 million in January 2012.
Despite foreclosures rising month-over-month from December 2012, the inventory of foreclosed homes decreased 3.3% in January 2013. On a year-over-year basis, the inventory for the month represented 2.9% of all homes with a mortgage.
The highest foreclosure inventories for the 12 months ending January 2013 were Florida (10%), New Jersey (7.2%), New York (5.1%), Nevada (4.7%) and Illinois (4.6%).
“We still have over a million homes in some stage of foreclosure which is too high, but the continuing downward trend in completed foreclosures is a very positive signal that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “We expect this trend to continue in 2013 as the housing market stabilizes and purchase activity picks up.”
Written by Jason Oliva