Completed foreclosures were up in March, with a substantial increase compared to February, but continued to fall on an annual basis. CoreLogic said that there were 36,000 foreclosures during the month, an increase of 9.3 percent from the 33,000 recorded during the previous month. However, foreclosures were down by 14.9 percent compared with March 2015 when there were 42,000. Despite the March bounce the 36,000 total is nearly a 70 percent decrease from the peak of the housing crisis (September 2010) when there were 117,782 homes lost, however the total remains significantly higher than the average of 21,000 foreclosures per month between 2000 and 2006.
The foreclosure inventory, homes officially in the process of foreclosure, was at its lowest level since October 2007. The inventory included approximately 427,000 homes or 1.1 percent of all homes with a mortgage. This was a decline of 23.2 percent from March 2015 when there were 556,000 homes in active foreclosure, a 1.4 percent rate. The inventory also declined by 2.2 percent from on a month-over-month basis from February.
Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.2 million completed foreclosures nationally, and since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 8.2 million homes lost to foreclosure.
CoreLogic’s March 2016 National Foreclosure Report said that the number of mortgages in serious delinquency (defined as 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or REO) declined by 19.1 percent from March 2015 to March 2016, with 1.2 million mortgages, or 3.1 percent, in this category. The March 2016 serious delinquency rate is the lowest since November 2007.
“Nationally, the economy added 609,000 jobs during the first three months of 2016, and average weekly earnings grew 2 percent over the past year,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Job and earnings growth have helped bring serious delinquency rates down in nearly every state. However, serious delinquency rates increased in North Dakota and West Virginia, two states affected by the drop in demand for the fuel each produces.”
The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in March 2016 were Florida (69,000), Michigan (48,000), Texas (28,000), Georgia (23,000) and California (23,000). These five states accounted for about 41 percent of all completed foreclosures nationally.
Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes in March 2016: New Jersey (4.0 percent), New York (3.3 percent), Hawaii (2.3 percent), the District of Columbia (2.2 percent) and Florida (2.1 percent).
“Delinquencies and foreclosure rates are now at pre-crash levels as the benefits of higher home prices, improving economic fundamentals and years of cautious underwriting are being felt across the country,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Longer term, as loans made since 2009 account for a larger share of outstanding debt, we anticipate that the serious delinquency rate will have further substantive declines.”