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Completed Foreclosures Decline But Remain At Double Pre-Recession Levels

foreclosure-noticeWhile completed foreclosures on residential homes totaled 40,000 for April and have been steadily falling monthly for the last four years, they are still nearly double their pre-recession average per month, according to CoreLogic's April 2015 National Foreclosure Report released Tuesday.

Completed foreclosures, which are a measure of homes actually lost to foreclosure, declined by 20 percent year-over-year in April 2015 (from 50,000 a year earlier), but remain elevated – they averaged about 21,000 per month from 2000 to 2006, before the crisis.

"Despite a slow and steady improvement in most housing market fundamentals, too many families remain in default of their mortgage obligations," said Anand Nallathambi, President and CEO of CoreLogic. "The percent of homeowners with a mortgage that have missed three or more monthly payments or are in foreclosure proceedings dropped to 3.6 percent in our April data. While well below the record peak of nearly 9 percent and the lowest in more than seven years, it remains about double the pre-2007 rate."

The 12-month sum of completed foreclosures for the period ending April 30, 2015, was 16.5 percent lower than the same period a year earlier (538,000 compared to 644,000). Florida accounted for about one-fifth of those completed foreclosures in the last 12 months with 106,000, according to CoreLogic. South Dakota was the state with the lowest total of completed foreclosures in the 12-month period ending April 30, 2015, with 20.

Foreclosure inventory, which represents the number of homes that are in some state of foreclosure, declined by 25 percent year-over-year nationwide in April 2015, from 694,000 homes to about 521,000 homes (representing 1.4 percent of all residential homes with a mortgage). Thirty-one states had a foreclosure inventory rate lower than the national rate of 1.4 percent in April, while six states experienced a year-over-year foreclosure inventory of 30 percent of more, led by Florida (45.6 percent) and Connecticut (35.8 percent). Foreclosure inventory has now declined year-over-year for 42 consecutive months, including April 2015.

"By mid-2011, after the Great Recession and at the trough of the house price collapse, more than 1.5 million homes were in the foreclosure pipeline," said Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic. "Employment recovery, foreclosure alternatives, and home-value gains have worked to reduce that inventory. At CoreLogic, we found that April's foreclosure inventory was down 25 percent from a year ago, falling to one-third the mid-2011 level."

The number of mortgages in serious delinquency in April 2015, about 1.38 million, was about 3.6 percent of all homes with a mortgage and represented a 22.1 percent decline from April 2014. New Jersey had the highest serious delinquency rate among states for April 2015 at 5.1 percent, followed by New York (3.8 percent), Florida (3.1 percent), Hawaii (2.6 percent), and Washington, D.C. (2.5 percent). The states with the lowest serious delinquency rates were Alaska (0.3 percent), Nebraska, North Dakota, and Colorado (0.4 percent each), and Minnesota (0.5 percent).

Among metros, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida had the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12-month period ending April 30, 2015, with 16,664, to go with a serious delinquency rate of 7.7 percent and a foreclosure inventory rate of 3.9 percent.

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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