About 48,000 foreclosures were completed in March, an increase of 5.9% compared to the approximately 45,000 completed in February and a 10% decline from the approximately 53,000 completed in March 2013, according to CoreLogic's National Foreclosure Report.
CoreLogic notes that it revised down its figures for February, bringing the total number of completed foreclosures for that month from the previous estimate of 48,000 to 45,000.
It should be noted that the number of completed foreclosures in any given month is not necessarily reflective of any given trend – rather, it is also reflective of how quickly mortgage servicers are working though their queue of foreclosure filings.
About 5 million homes have been across the country have been foreclosed upon since the financial crisis began in 2008.
As of March, approximately 720,000 homes were in some stage of foreclosure, known as the foreclosure inventory, compared to 1.1 million in March 2013, a year-over-year decrease of 37%. The foreclosure inventory as of March represented 1.8% of all homes with a mortgage, compared to 2.8% in March 2013.
The foreclosure inventory was down 5.1% from February. March was the 29th consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
"The inventory of homes in foreclosure and serious delinquency status are back to 2008 levels, yet remain elevated from a historical perspective," says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, in a release. "While getting healthier, the housing market is a long way from being fully recovered. By way of comparison, distressed stock inventories are more than three times higher than the levels of the early 2000s, before the most-recent housing boom and subsequent financial crisis."
"The pathway to a full recovery in housing is proving to be a very long one, but lower distressed stock levels are one clear indicator that we continue to make slow-but-steady progress," adds Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "Most states have made good progress clearing their foreclosure inventories, but states that have a longer judicial foreclosure process, such as Florida, New Jersey and New York, continue to struggle with elevated distressed stock inventories."
Every state except for Wyoming and the District of Columbia posted double-digit year-over-year declines in completed foreclosures in March. What's more, 37 states had declines in year-over-year foreclosure inventory of greater than 30%, with Arizona, California and Utah experiencing declines greater than 50%.
States with the highest number of completed foreclosures, year over year, in March included Florida (122,000), Michigan (49,000), Texas (39,000), California (34,000) and Georgia (33,000). These five states accounted for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.
States with the lowest number of completed foreclosures included the District of Columbia (57), North Dakota (414), West Virginia (516), Hawaii (683) and Wyoming (714).
States with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were New Jersey (6.0%), Florida (5.8%), New York (4.6%), Maine (3.2%) and Hawaii (3.1%).
The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were Alaska (0.4%), Wyoming (0.5%), North Dakota (0.5%), Nebraska (0.5%) and Minnesota (0.6%).
To download a copy of the full report, click here.