Coincidentally, Nevada and Arizona both saw a strong rebound in housing prices in 2012, while states such as Florida, New York and New Jersey lagged, highlighting the divide between judicial and non-judicial foreclosure states.

Analysts point out that housing markets where foreclosure inventory has been speedily cleared have seen the swiftest rebound, while those markets that have a longer process continue to be under pressure.

Foreclosure inventory dropped to a 57-month low in May 2011, but has since climbed up from that level. It still remains 31% below peak levels. The low inventory levels may have helped push prices higher and given sellers the upper hand in some markets.

RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist, however, expects foreclosure activity to catch up in 2013.

""We expect to see continued increases in judicial foreclosure states near the beginning of the year as lenders finish catching up with the backlogs in those states, and another set of increases in some non-judicial states near the end of the year as lenders adjust to the new laws and process some deferred foreclosures in those states," said Blomquist in a statement.

"The influx of foreclosure activity in 2012 in many local markets should translate into more foreclosure inventory available for sale in 2013 in those markets," Blomquist added. "That is good news for buyers and investors, but could result in some short-term weakness in home prices as the often-discounted foreclosure sales weigh down overall home values."

Florida had the biggest share of foreclosure inventory at 305766 properties. Fannie Mae ( FNMA), Freddie Mac ( FMCC) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development held 26% of all foreclosed homes, followed by Bank of America ( BAC) at 8%, Wells Fargo ( WFC), US Bancorp ( USB) and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) at 4%.

--Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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