PhotoThe number of completed foreclosures and the foreclosure rate skidded downward during the final month of 2016.

Property information provider CoreLogic reports completed foreclosures plunged 40% in December from the same month a year earlier. That translates to a drop of 21,000 in December 2016 from 36,000 in December 2015 and a decrease of 82% from the peak of 118,336 in September 2010.

During the same month, the foreclosure inventory was down 30%.

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 start of the financial meltdown in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.5 million completed foreclosures nationally. Approximately 8.6 million homes have been lost to foreclosure since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004.

As of last December, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 329,000, or 0.8%, of all homes with a mortgage.

Mortgage delinquencies

The number of mortgages in serious delinquency -- 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or REO -- fell 19.4% from December 2015. That means one million mortgages, or 2.6%, in serious delinquency -- the lowest level since August 2007. Decreases in serious delinquency were reported in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

“While the decline in serious delinquency has been geographically broad, some oil-producing markets have shown the effects of low oil prices on the housing market,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Serious delinquency rates rose in Louisiana, Wyoming and North Dakota, reflecting the weakness in oil production.”

Report highlights

  • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures fell 8.1% percent to 21,000 in December. As a basis of comparison, before the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged about 22,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
  • On a month-over-month basis, the December 2016 foreclosure inventory dipped 1.9%.
  • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in December 2016 were Florida (45,000), Michigan (30,000), Texas (24,000), Ohio (21,000), and California (19,000).These five states accounted for 36% of all completed foreclosures nationally.
  • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in December: North Dakota (182), the District of Columbia (254), West Virginia (312), Montana (630), and Alaska (668).
  • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate in December: New Jersey (2.8%), New York (2.7%), Maine (1.8%), Hawaii (1.7%), and the District of Columbia (1.6%).
  • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate in December 2016 were Colorado (0.2%), Minnesota (0.3%), Utah (0.3%), Arizona (0.3%), and California (0.3%).

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