The number of completed foreclosures nationwide fell by nearly a quarter in 2011 compared to 2010, according to a new report from data and analytics company CoreLogic.

CoreLogic’s National Foreclosure Report provides monthly nationwide statistics on completed foreclosures, foreclosure inventory and rates of seriously delinquent mortgages with payments overdue by 90 days or more.

The company covers about 85 percent of U.S. foreclosure data. A foreclosure is completed when a property in the foreclosure process is purchased at auction by either a third party, such as an investor, or by the lender, according to CoreLogic.

Completed foreclosures fell 24.5 percent to 830,000 in 2011 from 1.1 million in 2010, the report said. In December, completed foreclosures were down 17.9 percent year over year and down 3.5 percent month to month, to 55,000.

 

Since the beginning of the financial downturn in September 2008, there have been about 3.2 million foreclosures, CoreLogic said.

Delinquency rates and foreclosure inventories were also down at the end of last year. The share of seriously delinquent mortgages nationally fell to 7.3 percent in December compared to 7.8 percent in December 2010.

 

Foreclosure inventory decreased 8.4 percent year over year in December, to 1.4 million homes, or 3.4 percent of all homes with a mortgage. About one-third of homeowners own their homes outright, CoreLogic said.

Foreclosure inventory includes the number of homes placed into the foreclosure process by a mortgage servicer after reaching a certain level of serious delinquency — typically 90, 120 or 150 days, but sometime more — and not yet sold at auction. 

The rate at which servicers nationwide processed distressed assets rose in December. The ratio of REO sales to completed foreclosures — "the distressed clearing ratio" — increased to 1.03 from 0.94 in November.

"The inventory of foreclosed properties has begun to shrink, and the pace at which properties are entering foreclosure is slowing. While foreclosure filings are being curtailed by a variety of judicial and regulatory constraints, mortgage servicers are completing REO sales faster than they are completing foreclosures," said Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist, in a statement.

"This is the first time in a year that REO sales have outpaced completed foreclosures, and part of the reason for the decrease in the foreclosure inventory," Fleming said.

Foreclosure inventory in December was highest in Florida (11.9 percent), New Jersey (6.4 percent), Illinois (5.4 percent), Nevada (5.3 percent) and New York (4.6 percent), the report said.

Such inventory was lowest in three Western states and two Midwestern states: Wyoming (0.7 percent), Alaska (0.8 percent), North Dakota (0.8 percent), Nebraska (1 percent) and Washington (1.3 percent).

Of the country’s 100 major metro areas, 34 saw a jump in foreclosure inventory in December 2011 compared to December 2010, down from 46 that saw a rise in November 2011 compared to November 2010.

Foreclosure inventory and delinquency rates: 25 largest U.S. metros (ranked by outstanding loan count in December 2011)

Metro areas Delinquency rate (90 or more days)
Foreclosure inventory Year-over-year % change in foreclosure inventory
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. 10.8% 6.3% 0.8%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. 7.3% 2.7% -0.5%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. 8.9% 2.9% -0.2%
New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. 8.6% 5.3% 0.5%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va. 5.9% 2.3% 0.0%
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas 5.2% 1.6% -0.1%
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. 7.6% 2.9% -2.1%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. 10.1% 3.8% -1.1%
Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas 5.1% 1.4% -0.1%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis. 5.0% 2.0% -0.3%
Philadelphia, Pa. 5.8% 2.5% 0.2%
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. 6.4% 1.4% -1.0%
Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo. 4.3% 1.5% -0.4%
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif. 6.0% 2.3% -0.3%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. 17.0% 12.1% 0.9%
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif. 5.5% 2.2% -0.1%
St. Louis, Mo.-Ill. 5.0% 1.7% -0.1%
Baltimore-Towson, Md. 7.6% 2.9% 0.5%
Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y. 10.3% 6.2% 0.7%
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, Calif. 6.5% 2.5% -0.4%
Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. 6.0% 2.0% -0.9%
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. 5.5% 2.3% -0.1%
Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, Calif. 7.6% 3.0% -0.6%
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. 18.3% 12.2% -0.1%
Edison-New Brunswick, N.J. 8.7% 5.3% 0.6%

Source: CoreLogic.

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