Foreclosures have been on a rapid steady decline for the last five-plus
years since hitting their peak in 2010, so there were no surprises contained in CoreLogic’s December 2015 National Foreclosure Reportreleased on Tuesday.
CoreLogic reported that the nationwide foreclosure inventory totaled 433,000 in December, or 1.1 percent of all homes with a mortgage, which was down by almost one-quarter (23.8 percent) from December 2014 and the lowest foreclosure inventory level for any one month since December 2007. The number of completed foreclosures in December 2015 totaled 32,000, down 22 percent from 41,000 in December 2014 and down 72.8 percent from their peak of nearly 118,000 reached in September 2010.
The steep decline in distressed inventory may be indicating a further return to “normal” for the housing market, but at the same time it is affecting available non-distressed inventory, according to Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. In CoreLogic’s most recent report on distressed sales, the share of residential home sales that were distressed was 11.9 percent for November 2015, down from their peak of 32.4 percent reached in January 2009.
“The supply of distressed inventory continues to shrink rapidly. While this is positive for the housing market overall, it also drives a decline in the inventory of affordable for-sale homes,” Nallathambi said. “The lack of housing stock, particularly affordable inventory, is a growing issue and will limit a full housing recovery in the short to medium term.”
In December 2015, serious delinquencies (mortgage loans 90 days or more past due, in foreclosure, or REO) had also fallen to levels not seen since 2007. CoreLogic reported the number of serious delinquencies in December 2015 as 1.2 million, or 3.2 percent of all mortgages nationwide. It was a decline of 23.3 percent from the previous December and the lowest level for serious delinquencies since 2007.
“Reflecting on the full-year foreclosure results for 2015, we can see that completed foreclosures are down more than 20 percent for the year, which is the lowest level since 2006, before the crisis,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Maryland, which can be described as a suburb of the solid D.C. market, led the way with a 59-percent decline in foreclosures in 2015.”