PhotoThe number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process -- the foreclosure inventory -- was down in July, as was the number of completed foreclosures, which reflects the total number of homes lost to foreclosure.

Property information provider CoreLogic reports last month's inventory plunged 29.1% and completed foreclosures declined by 16.5% compared with July 2015. The latter translates to a year-over-year decline from 41,000 in July 2015 to 34,000 in July 2016, representing a decrease of 71.2% from the peak of 118,009 in September 2010.

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

As of this past July, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 355,000, or 0.9%, of all homes with a mortgage versus 501,000 homes, or 1.3%, in July 2015. The latest July foreclosure inventory rate is the lowest for any month since August 2007.

"Loan modifications, foreclosures and stronger housing and labor markets have each played a role in bringing the foreclosure rate to the lowest level in nine years," said CoreLogic Chief Economist Dr. Frank Nothaft. "The U.S. Treasury's Making Home Affordable program has contributed to the decline through permanent modifications, forbearance and foreclosure alternatives which have assisted 2.5 million homeowners with first mortgages at risk of foreclosure since 2009."

CoreLogic also reports that the number of mortgages in serious delinquency -- 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or REO -- were down 17.3% from July 2015 to July 2016, with 1.1 million mortgages, or 2.9%, in this category. The decline was broad-based, with declines in 47 states and the District of Columbia.

Report highlights

  • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures decreased by 6.8% to 34,000 in July 2016 from the 36,000 reported for June 2016. 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 3.9% from┬áJune.
  • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in July 2016 were Florida (57,000), Michigan (45,000), Texas (27,000), Ohio (23,000), and California (21,000). These five states account for almost 40% of all completed foreclosures nationally.
  • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures: DC (207), North Dakota (324), West Virginia (488), Alaska (635), and Montana (700).
  • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate: New Jersey (3.3%), New York (3%), Hawaii (1.8%), Maine (1.8%), and the District of Columbia (1.8%).
  • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate were Colorado, Minnesota, Utah, Arizona, and Alaska -- all at 0.3%.

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