The nation's inventory of homes in some stage of foreclosure declined 4.8% in May from April, the 31st straight month-to-month drop, CoreLogic reported Tuesday.
At 47,000, the number of foreclosures completed in May dropped 9.4% from a revised 52,000 a year earlier, while month-over-month, completed foreclosures were up by 3.8%.
The 12-month total of completed foreclosures is at its lowest point since December 2007 and has declined for eight months in a row, according to the report. However, between 2000 and 2006—before the housing market crisis started—the number of completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide, indicating the current level is still relatively high.
About 660,000 mortgage loans were in some stage of foreclosure, down 37% year-over-year from 1 million in May 2013. As of May 2014 the foreclosure inventory made up 1.7% of all homes with a mortgage, down from 2.6% in May 2013. The number of seriously delinquent mortgages declined 23.9% year-over-year in May 2014, and these loans accounted for 4.4% of all loans.
The data underscore that there is still "much more hard work to do to clear the backlog of foreclosed properties," said Anand Nallathabi, president and chief executive officer of CoreLogic, in a press release.
Thirty-eight states saw year-over-year declines of more than 30% in their foreclosure inventory, led by Arizona, Nebraska, Minnesota and Utah, where the figure dropped by more than half.
The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of mortgaged homes are New Jersey at 5.8%, Florida 5.2%, New York 4.3%, Hawaii 3.1% and Maine 2.8%.
Despite significant gains made in 2013 to reduce the foreclosure stock, improvements are occurring disproportionately in nonjudicial states where the foreclosure inventory is averaging 0.9% of all loans or nearly half of the 2.1% average in judicial states, said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, in the press release.