The number of foreclosures completed across the country in July fell both on a monthly and annual basis, bringing another indicator that the housing market is continuing its recent improvements.
In July, lenders completed roughly 58,000 foreclosures on homes across the country, according to the latest monthly data from the tracking company CoreLogic. That was down from the 62,000 seen in June, as well as the 69,000 seen in July 2011, a 16 percent drop on a year-over-year basis.
However, 1.3 million properties — 3.2 percent of all homes with an existing mortgage — were in the foreclosure inventory last month, the report said. That, too, was an improvement from July 2011’s total, when there were 1.5 million homes in the system, accounting for 3.5 percent of the total mortgage market. Meanwhile, there was no change between June and July.
“The decline in completed foreclosures is yet another positive signal that the housing market is continuing on a progressive path of stabilization and recovery,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive officer of CoreLogic. “Alternative resolutions are helping to reduce foreclosures and often result in a more positive transition for the borrower and lower losses for investors and lenders.”
However, not all areas experienced these improvements, as nearly half of the completed foreclosures nationwide were concentrated in just five states, the report said. These were mainly California, Florida, Michigan, Texas, and Georgia. Altogether, those five states alone accounted for 48.1 percent of foreclosures completed in July alone.
Not surprisingly, those five states are also the centers for the largest concentrations of completed foreclosures over the last 12 months, the report said. California leads the way with 118,000, with Florida’s 92,000 some way back. Michigan, Texas and Georgia are closer together, at 61,000, 57,000 and 54,000, respectively.
Meanwhile, the five areas in the country with the fewest foreclosures so far this year were led by South Dakota at 32 and Washington, D.C., at 120, the report said. Hawaii (445), North Dakota (575) and Maine (608) rounded out the list for the previous 12 months.
Falling foreclosure numbers may be a sign that consumers are once again handling their finances more responsibly and doing a better job of getting all their bills paid on time and in full. It was expected that numbers would surge following the settlement of a suit between the states’ attorneys general and some of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, but that hasn’t happened.