CoreLogic's latest National Foreclosure Report, utilizing data through March 2014, found that foreclosure inventory is down 5.1 percent from February. The percentage of homes seriously delinquent on their mortgages fell as well to 4.7 percent, the first time the seriously delinquent rate has been this low since October 2008.
Foreclosure inventory is back to November 2008 levels, according to the company.
Completed foreclosures for the month totaled 48,000, an increase of 5.9 percent from February. Regardless, completed foreclosures fell 10 percent over the year, dropping from 53,000 recorded foreclosures in March 2013.
By comparison, before the decline in the housing market in 2007, foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006, the company said. Since the financial crisis began, 5 million homes have completed the foreclosure process.
"The inventory of homes in foreclosure and serious delinquency status are back to 2009 levels, yet remain elevated from a historical perspective," said Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.
"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," Fleming added.
Nationally, the inventory of homes in foreclosure is down 3.1 percent from February. March’s inventory reflects a yearly drop of 37 percent, from 1.1 million homes in foreclosure in March 2013 to 720,000 as of March 2014.
Foreclosure inventory has recognized 29 consecutive months with a year-over-year decline. Foreclosure inventory represents 1.8 percent of all homes with a mortgage, down from 2.8 percent the previous year.
"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," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.
He continued, "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."
States with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of mortgaged homes include New Jersey (6.0 percent), Florida (5.8 percent), New York (4.6 percent), Maine (3.2 percent), and Hawaii (3.1 percent).
"Thirty-seven states show declines in year-over-year foreclosure inventory of greater than 30 percent, with Arizona, California and Utah experiencing declines of more than 50 percent," CoreLogic said.
States with the highest number of completed foreclosure during the past 12 months include Florida (122,000), Michigan (49,000), Texas (39,000), California (34,000), and Georgia (33,000).