In the month of Martch, 55,000 U.S. homes were foreclosed, more than a revised total of 52,000 in February and down from 66,000 in March 2012, according to research firm CoreLogic Inc. (NYSE: CLGX). While an improvement, the number of foreclosures is still well above the 2000 to 2006 average of 21,000 foreclosures per month. CoreLogic notes that since September 2008, some 4.2 million foreclosures have been completed in the United States.
The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the past 12 months were Florida (103,000), California (83,000), Michigan (70,000), Texas (53,000) and Georgia (48,000). The five states with the fewest foreclosures in the 12 months through March were South Dakota (81), District of Columbia (101), Hawaii (421), North Dakota (487) and West Virginia (554).
The five states with the largest inventories of foreclosed properties are Florida (9.7%), New Jersey (7.3%), New York (5%), Maine (4.4%) and Illinois (4.4%). The five states with the lowest inventories of foreclosed properties are Wyoming (0.5%), Alaska (0.7%), North Dakota (0.7%), Nebraska (0.9%) and Montana (0.9%).
CoreLogic executives noted:
In March, completed foreclosures were down 52 percent from the peak in 2010, and almost all of the top 100 major metropolitan areas have declining foreclosure rates. The foreclosure rate nationally is down 23 percent relative to a year ago, signaling continued reduction in the stock of distressed assets. … Although we still have more than a million homes in some stage of foreclosure, this trend, combined with rising home prices, is another signal of a gradually improving housing market.
The research firm also noted that about 1.1 million homes were in some stage of foreclosure during March, down from 1.5 million in March 2012, marking the 17th consecutive month with a year-over-year decline in the inventory of foreclosed properties. CoreLogic said the foreclosure inventory in March represented 2.8% of all mortgaged homes, compared with 3.5% in March a year ago.