There were 47,000 completed foreclosures nationally in May, down from 52,000 a year ago, which is a drop of 9.4%. But if you look at the month-over-month numbers from just April to May, completed foreclosures were up by 3.8%, according to mortgage-data firm CoreLogic. This is still more than double the amount of foreclosures that typically took place before the housing market crash in 2007: Completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
Completed foreclosures reflect the actual number of homes lost to foreclosure. Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been around 5 million completed foreclosures in the U.S. In May, roughly 660,000 homes were still in some stage of foreclosure, down from 1 million in May 2013, a decline of 37%. The foreclosure inventory as of May 2014 represented 1.7% of all homes with a mortgage, compared with 2.6% in May 2013.
Foreclosures may also weigh on house prices in areas where they’re more common, experts say, and there’s still wide disparity between the foreclosure inventories in states. The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory in May were New Jersey (5.8% of all mortgaged homes), Florida (5.2%), New York (4.3%), Hawaii (3.1%) and Maine (2.8%). The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory were Alaska (0.3%), Nebraska (0.4%), North Dakota (0.4%), Wyoming (0.4%) and Minnesota (0.5%).