NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The number of homes lost to foreclosure declined 20% year over year in June, according to the latest report from CoreLogic.
There were 55,000 foreclosures in June, down from 68,000 a year earlier. On a monthly basis, completed foreclosures actually increased 2.5% from a revised 53,000 in May.
The level of foreclosures is still elevated. Prior to the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 a month between 2000 and 2006.
As of June, 1 million homes were in some stage of foreclosure. The foreclosure inventory rate has declined 28% over the past year. It now represents 2.5% of all homes with a mortgage compared to 3.4% a year earlier.Foreclosures are declining as delinquency rates are improving and banks are increasingly opting for alternatives to foreclosure. "So far this year, distressed inventories have fallen dramatically, down 14.4 percent, and serious delinquencies are down 15.9 percent," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "In the first six months of 2013, the stock of seriously delinquent mortgages has dropped by 412,000." The decline in foreclosure inventory and completed foreclosures has reduced the number of distressed homes hitting the market. Home prices are now recovering across the country as the excess supply in the housing market from foreclosed homes has been drained. In fact, a shortage of supply of homes is now pushing prices higher in many cities. The share of distressed sales dropped to 15% of total existing home sales in June, its lowest level since October 2008, according to National Association of Realtors. -- Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York. >Contact by Email. Follow @shavenk