In the month of February, 54,000 U.S. homes were foreclosed, less than a revised total of 58,000 in January and down from 67,000 in February 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 (95,000), California (90,000), Michigan (73,000), Texas (57,000) and Georgia (49,000). The five states with the fewest foreclosures in the 12 months to February were District of Columbia (96), Hawaii (469), North Dakota (482), Maine (542) and West Virginia (588).
The five states with the largest inventories of foreclosed properties are Florida (9.9%), New Jersey (7.2%), New York (5%), Nevada (4.6%) and Illinois (4.5%). The five states with the lowest inventories of foreclosed properties are Wyoming (0.5%), Alaska (0.6%), North Dakota (0.7%), Nebraska (0.8%) and Montana (0.9%).
CoreLogic executives noted:
February’s 54,000 completed foreclosures is the lowest level nationally since September 2007, with most major metropolitan areas experiencing improvements. Even the major Florida markets are benefiting with the foreclosure inventories falling the fastest in major metropolitan areas, although from a very high level. … We continue to see a declining trend in foreclosure activity, with major markets leading the way.
The research firm also noted that about 1.2 million homes were in some stage of foreclosure during January, down from 1.5 million in February 2012, marking the 16th consecutive month with a year-over-year decline in the inventory of foreclosed properties. CoreLogic said the foreclosure inventory in February represented 2.8% of all mortgaged homes, compared with 3.5% in February a year ago.
Mortgage services firm Lender Processing Service Inc. (NYSE: LPS) issued its “First Look” report for February earlier this week, and the company notes that the drop in the foreclosure pre-sale inventory is 19.58%, compared with February of 2012. LPS also notes that the mortgage delinquency rate is down 6.51% from February of last year.