U.S. Foreclosures Drop 9.4 Percent in Latest year

The number of completed foreclosures made a major yearly drop, according to new data from foreclosure tracking firm CoreLogic, even though they rose on a monthly basis.

The CoreLogic National Foreclosure Report showed that there were 47,000 completed U.S. foreclosures in May, up 3.8 percent from 45,000 in April. Compared with May 2013, however, foreclosures were down 9.4 percent from 52,000. While the yearly decline is encouraging, things are still a long way from their pre-mortgage meltdown average of 21,000 foreclosures a month. Completed foreclosures mean homes that are actually lost to foreclosure.

The report also found that there were 660,000 properties in some stage of the foreclosure process in May 2014, down 4.8 percent from April and a 37 percent decrease from the year before. Homes in foreclosure now represent 1.7 percent of all U.S. properties, down from a rate of 2.6 percent a year ago.

The declines in foreclosures were not even across the country however. So-called judicial states, where all foreclosures must be reviewed by a judge before completion, are still processing large number of foreclosures.

“Significant gains have been made in the last year to reduce the foreclosure stock,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Yet, these improvements are occurring disproportionately in non-judicial states. The foreclosure inventory in judicial states is averaging 2.1 percent, which is more than twice the 0.9 percent average that is occurring in non-judicial states.”

The states with the highest foreclosure rates in May were New Jersey with 5.8 percent, Florida with 5.2 percent, New York with 4.3 percent, Hawaii with 3.1 percent and Maine with 2.8 percent. The lowest rates were in Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming and Minnesota.

Since the dawn of the financial crisis in the fall of 2008 there have been roughly 5 million completed foreclosures nationwide.

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