In the month of December, 32,000 U.S. home foreclosures were completed, down 2.4% month over month and down 22.6% from a total of 41,000 in December 2014, according to CoreLogic. The research firm notes that the current foreclosure inventory totals 1.1% of all homes with a mortgage in the United States, down from 1.2% in December of 2014.
The number of U.S. homes currently in some stage of foreclosure totals approximately 433,000, compared with 568,000 in December 2014. That represents a decline in the national foreclosure inventory of 23.8% compared with December a year ago.
The four states and the District of Columbia with the largest foreclosed inventory as a percentage of mortgaged properties are New Jersey (4.2%), New York (3.5%), Hawaii (2.4%), Florida (2.3%) and D.C. (2.3%). The five states with the lowest inventories of foreclosed properties are Alaska (0.3%), Minnesota (0.3%), Arizona (0.4%), Colorado (0.4%) and Utah (0.4%).
The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the past 12 months were Florida (79,000), Michigan (50,000), Texas (30,000), Ohio (24,000) and Georgia (24,000). The five states with the fewest foreclosures in the prior 12 months through December were District of Columbia (81), North Dakota (220), Wyoming (541), West Virginia (560) and Alaska (700).
CoreLogic’s chief economist said:
Reflecting on the full-year foreclosure results for 2015, we can see that completed foreclosures are down more than 20 percent for the year, which is the lowest level since 2006, before the crisis. Maryland, which can be described as a suburb of the solid D.C. market, led the way with a 59% decline in foreclosures in 2015.
The company’s CEO added:
The supply of distressed inventory continues to shrink rapidly. While this is a positive for the housing market overall, it also drives a decline in the inventory of available for-sale homes. The lack of housing stock, particularly affordable inventory, is a growing issue and will limit a full housing recovery in the short to medium term.
Of the 10 largest U.S. metro areas, the foreclosure inventory was highest in the New York area, at 3.4%. The Miami metro area’s foreclosure inventory totaled 3.0% and the Las Vegas area had the third-highest total at 1.7%. The lowest totals were posted in the San Francisco (0.1%) area and in Denver (0.2%).
Florida and Minnesota posted year-over-year declines of more than 30% in foreclosure inventory. Florida’s foreclosure inventory has fallen 41% in the past 12 months and Minnesota’s has dropped by 35.6%.
According to CoreLogic, the current foreclosure rate of 1.1% is the same as the November 2007 rate, and the foreclosure inventory has declined every month for the past 50 months. Before the collapse in the housing market in 2007, the average number of foreclosures completed in a month was 21,000.