PhotoHome foreclosures were down again in February as the nation continues to climb out of the housing hole of the last decade.

Property information provider CoreLogic reports that the February foreclosure inventory plunged 23.9%. Completed foreclosures were down 10% percent from the same time a year earlier.

Put another way, the number of completed foreclosures nationwide decreased year-over-year from 38,000 to 34,000, a drop of 71.3% from the peak of 117,776 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 6.2 million completed foreclosures across the country. Since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 8.2 million homes lost to foreclosure.

As of this past February, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 1.1% of all homes with a mortgage; it was 1.5% in February 2015. The February 2016 foreclosure inventory rate is the lowest for any month since November 2007.

“Job creation averaged 207,000 during the first two months of 2016, and incomes grew over the past year,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “More income and improved household finances have helped bring serious delinquency rates down in nearly every state. However, serious delinquency rates increased in North Dakota and West Virginia, two states affected by price declines for the energy fuel each produces.”

The number of mortgages in serious delinquency -- 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or real estate owned -- dropped 19.9% from February 2015, with 1.3 million mortgages, or 3.2%, in this category. The February serious delinquency rate is the lowest since November 2007.

Report highlights

  • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures decreased by 13.9% to 34,000 in February 2016 from the 39,000 reported a month earlier. 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.
  • On a month-over-month basis, the foreclosure inventory was down 2.6% in February 2016 from January 2016.
  • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in February 2016 were Florida (72,000), Michigan (49,000), Texas (29,000), California (25,000), and Ohio (23,000). These five states accounted for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.
  • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in February 2016: The District of Columbia (113), North Dakota (312), Wyoming (574), West Virginia (627), and Alaska (682).
  • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rates in February 2016: New Jersey (4.0%), New York (3.4%), Hawaii (2.3%), Florida (2.2%), and the District of Columbia (2.2%).
  • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate in February 2016 were Alaska (0.3%), and Minnesota, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah all at 0.4%.

“Home price gains have clearly been a driving force in building positive equity for homeowners,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Longer term, we anticipate a better balance of supply with demand in many markets which will help sustain healthy and affordable home values into the future.”

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