This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Foreclosures Plunge Back to 2008 Levels

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- How healthy is the housing market? Data on prices and sales show a pretty nice recovery, but the standout stat is foreclosures: The "foreclosure inventory" dropped by 35% in the 12 months ended in February.

That's the number of homes in the foreclosure process or likely to be because homeowners are seriously behind in their payments. Because homes in or near foreclosure typically sell at a deep discount, a large foreclosure inventory, including a "shadow inventory" of homes that could tumble onto the market, puts damper on sales, which can hurt prices. So a reduction in the number of troubled homes is a force for the good.

"The stock of seriously delinquent homes and the foreclosure rate are back to levels last seen in the final quarter of 2008," says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, the housing-data firm. "The shadow inventory has also declined year over year for the past three years as the housing market continues to heal, including double-digit declines for the past 16 consecutive months."

Shadow inventory peaked at about 3 million homes early in 2010 and has since fallen to about 1.7 million. That's still high compared with the 600,000 to 700,000 in the years just before the financial crisis, but the drop represents a significant improvement nonetheless.

Must Read: 5 Professions Most Likely to Make You a Homeowner

Homeowners in trouble are like a slow-moving train wreck as they fall behind, get warning notices and enter what is often a sluggish foreclosure process. So it's not surprising the shadow inventory is still higher than before the crisis. But the decline means fewer and fewer homeowners are getting into trouble.

Corelogic says 43,000 foreclosures were completed in February, compared with 51,000 in February 2013.

"Although there is good news that completed foreclosures are trending lower, the bigger news is the impressive decline in the foreclosure and shadow inventories," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Every state has had double-digit, year-over-year declines in foreclosure inventory, which is reflected in the $70 billion decline in the shadow inventory."

Of course, the picture varies around the country. Just five states -- Florida, Michigan, Texas, California and Georgia -- account for nearly half the foreclosures completed in the 12 months ended with February.

New Jersey, Florida, New York, Maine and Connecticut were the five with the highest percentage of mortgaged homes in the foreclosure inventory. The five with the lowest were Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota, Nebraska and Colorado.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AAPL $126.60 0.00%
FB $86.91 0.00%
GOOG $521.84 0.00%
TSLA $269.15 0.00%
YHOO $39.33 0.00%

Markets

DOW 17,757.91 +138.40 0.79%
S&P 500 2,077.42 +14.31 0.69%
NASDAQ 5,013.1230 +26.2560 0.53%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs