Foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—were down 18% in 2014 compared to the prior year, according to a report released today by Irvine, Calif.-based real estate data firm RealtyTrac. The 1.12 million properties with filings during 2014 represent a 61% drop from 2010, when foreclosure filings peaked at 2.87 million.
The 2014 figure was also the lowest number since 2006, when 717,522 properties in the U.S. had foreclosure filings. Last year one in 118 housing units, or 0.85%, had filings, marking the first time since 2006 that the annual foreclosure filing rate dropped below 1%.
“To me, this means that the housing market can move forward on much more stable footing. One pillar of the housing crisis is gone,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. “That will allow a lot of stakeholders involved in housing to move forward with confidence that there’s no shadow inventory of foreclosures that’s going to rear up and disrupt the housing recovery–at least on a national level.”
Complementary findings to RealtyTrac’s were released Wednesday by competing data firm CoreLogic CLGX +2.93%. While RealtyTrac counts multiple documents at various stages of the foreclosure process for 2,200 counties that account for 90% of the U.S. population, CoreLogic counts completed foreclosures across the nation once they are sold at auction, or if the foreclosed home enters a lender’s REO inventory. CoreLogic’s count was down 9.6% nationally from November 2013 to November 2014, and down 64% from the peak in September 2010, the company said Wednesday.
Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, about 5.5 million homes have been lost to foreclosure across the country, according to CoreLogic data. Since Q2 2004–when homeownership rates peaked–about 7 million homes have been foreclosed on. Combined, the CoreLogic and RealtyTrac reports confirm what economists have been saying for a while: the foreclosure crisis is moving into the rear-view mirror.
As of November 2014, about 567,000 homes across the country were in some stage of foreclosure, compared to 880,000 in November 2013, a year-over-year drop of 35.5%, according to CoreLogic’s tally. Residences in some state of foreclosure comprised 1.5% of all homes with a mortgage, the lowest foreclosure inventory level since March 2008, CoreLogic reported.
“The number of completed foreclosures over the past twelve months–just under 575,000–are at the lowest level in seven years. This month’s figure of 41,000 foreclosures is in line [with] levels experienced in the second half of 2007, which was the very beginning of the housing crisis,” said Anand Nallathambi, CEO of CoreLogic. “At current foreclosure rates, we expect to see the foreclosure inventory in the U.S. to drop below 500,000 homes sometime in the first quarter of 2015 which would be another milestone in the healing of the housing market.”
But the monthly level of completed foreclosures remains above pre-crisis levels. November’s 41,000 completed foreclosures is nearly double the monthly average before the housing crash, CoreLogic reports. From 2000 to 2006, the U.S. averaged just 21,000 completed foreclosures per month.