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Another month of declines in both completed foreclosures and the foreclosure inventory.

Property information provider CoreLogic reports completed foreclosures declined by 7.0% in September from the same time a year ago, while the foreclosure inventory plunged 31.1%.

The number of completed foreclosures nationwide was down year-over-year by 3,000 -- to 36,000 in September 2016, representing a drop of 69.7% from the peak of 118,222 in September 2010.

The foreclosure inventory represents the number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process and completed foreclosures reflect the total number of homes lost to foreclosure.

Since the financial meltdown began in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.4 million completed foreclosures nationally. Since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 8.5 million homes lost to foreclosure.

As of September, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 340,000, or 0.9%, of all homes with a mortgage, versus 493,000 homes, or 1.3%, the year before.

Mortgage delinquencies

The number of mortgages in serious delinquency -- 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or REO -- plummeted 24.8% from September 2015 to September 2016, with 1 million mortgages, or 2.6%, in serious delinquency. That's the lowest level since August 2007. Decreases were seen in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

“This improvement is continued evidence of the recovery in the housing market,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, “especially given that the decreases were fairly uniform in most cities across the country.”

Report highlights

  • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures increased by 5.2% to 36,000 in September from the 34,000 reported for August. As a basis of comparison, before the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
  • The September foreclosure inventory was down 3.1% compared with August 2016.
  • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in September were Florida (53,000), Texas (27,000), Michigan (24,000), Ohio (23,000), and Georgia (21,000).These five states accounted for 36% of completed foreclosures nationally.
  • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in September: the District of Columbia (186), North Dakota (338), West Virginia (447), Alaska (643), and Montana (701).
  • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate in September: New Jersey (3.0%), New York (2.7%), Maine (1.8%), Hawaii (1.8%), and the District of Columbia (1.6%).
  • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate in September 2016 were Colorado (0.3%), Minnesota (0.3%), Arizona , Michigan, and Utah (all at 0.3%).
Photo © Marzky Ragsac Jr. - Fotolia

Jobless claims

The decline last week in first-time applications for state unemployment benefits more than wiped out the increase posted the previous week.

The Department of Labor (DOL) reports initial jobless claims were down by 11,000 in the week ending November 5 to a seasonally adjusted 254,000.

It's now been 88 straight weeks that claims have been below 300,000 the longest streak since 1970.

The four-week moving average inched up 1,750 from a week earlier to 259,750. This measure is seen as a better gauge of the labor market as it lacks the volatility seen in the weekly headcount.

The complete report may be found on the DOL website.

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