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Completed Foreclosures Fall 34%

Completed foreclosures dropped 34% year-over-year in August 2013, according to data from CoreLogic (CLGX). As a whole, August’s completed foreclosures hit 48,000 filings, down from 72,000 filings in August 2012.

From a month ago, completed foreclosures grew a slight 1.3% from 47,000 actions in July 2013.

Overall, the nation has experienced 4.5 million completed foreclosures across the country since the start of the financial crisis in September 2008.

Through August 2013 this year, approximately 939,000 homes were in some stage of foreclosure, compared to 1.4 million in August 2012, a year-over-year decrease of 33%.

From August to July, the foreclosure inventory declined 3.2%. In August, the foreclosure inventory represented 2.4% of all homes with a mortgage, compared to 3.3% in August 2012.

By the end of August, 2.1 million mortgages, or 5.3% of loans survyed, were seriously delinquent, the lowest level since December 2008.

"The foreclosure inventory continues to improve, as exhibited by these recent numbers," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "A surge in completed foreclosures and a rise in the foreclosure inventory is unlikely given continued house price improvements and shortages of supply in many markets."

Meanwhile, the five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in August were Florida, Michigan, California, Texas and Georgia, which account for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.

"The foreclosure inventory pipeline is shrinking because more homes are exiting the process than entering it. With an improving economy, people are better able to pay their mortgage, and rising prices are lifting more people back above water – both of which means people are less likely to fall behind on their payments and go into default," said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia.

In addition, Daren Blomquist, chief economist with RealtyTrac, noted the primary reason for a drop in foreclosures is the fact the market has worked through a majority of the bad loans that triggered the crisis.

"That said, foreclosure prevention programs, along with state legislation and litigation to prevent improper foreclosures has held back some distressed inventory that eventually will make its way into the pipeline," Blomquist added.

Looking ahead, the market will likely see other states with rebounding foreclosure activity, including California, where lenders are still figuring out how to foreclose with the Homeowner Bill of Rights in effect since January, Blomquist said.

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