Completed U.S. foreclosures fell significantly in March from the previous year, according to foreclosure data company CoreLogic, yet another positive sign of recovery in the housing market.
There were 55,000 completed foreclosures across the country in March, down 16 percent from March 2012 when there were 66,000.
“For 17 consecutive months, foreclosures have declined year over year across the U.S,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic in a statement. “Although we still have more than a million homes in some stage of foreclosure, this trend, combined with rising home prices, is another signal of a gradually improving housing market.”
On a monthly basis, however, foreclosures increased 6 percent from February’s 52,000 completed repossessions. And compared with earlier averages, the number of foreclosures is still more than double. CoreLogic reported that between 2000 and 2006 – the years before the mortgage meltdown – the nation averaged only 21,000 each month.
The newest numbers do represent progress from the depths of the financial crisis though.
“In March, completed foreclosures were down 52 percent from the peak in 2010, and almost all of the top 100 major metropolitan areas have declining foreclosure rates,” said Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The foreclosure rate nationally is down 23 percent relative to a year ago, signaling continued reduction in the stock of distressed assets.”
Florida topped the list of states for the most completed foreclosures in March with a total of 103,000. California was second with 83,000, followed by Michigan with 70,000. The rest of the top five was rounded out by Texas at 53,000 and Georgia with 48,000. South Dakota has only 81 in March making it the state with the least completed foreclosures.
Overall, there were about 1.1 million U.S. homes in some stage of foreclosure in March, down 23 percent from 1.5 million the year before and down 1.9 percent from February.