Foreclosure inventory decreased 31% in December on a yearly basis, which is two times more than a year earlier, according to data from CoreLogic.
Through last December, approximately 837,000 homes were in some stage of foreclosure. The year before, the foreclosure inventory was 1.2 million housing units.
The current foreclosure inventory represents 2.1% of all homes with a mortgage, the Irvine, Calif.-based firm said.
On a monthly basis, foreclosure inventory was down 2.7% from November 2013.
The highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes was found in Florida (6.7%), New Jersey (6.5%), New York (4.9%), Connecticut (3.6%) and Maine (3.6%).
Black Knight Financial Services' loan-level database revealed similar numbers on Monday for its foreclosure and serious delinquent inventory, reporting a 28% drop at yearend.
"The decline indicates that the distressed foreclosure inventory is healing at an accelerating rate heading into 2014," says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.
Foreclosure inventory declined from a year ago because completed foreclosures across the country dropped by 24%. There were 620,111 homes actually lost to foreclosure last year, compared to 820,498 in 2012.
Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been about 4.8 million completed foreclosures nationwide.
"Clearly, 2013 was a transitional year for residential property in the United States. Higher home prices and lower shadow inventory levels, together with a slowly improving economy, are hopeful signals that we are turning a long-awaited corner," says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "The housing market should continue to heal in 2014, but we expect progress to remain very slow."