NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lenders completed fewer U.S. foreclosures in June than they did a year ago, while the number of properties sitting in the foreclosure pipeline also decreased as the housing market continued to improve, data from CoreLogic showed on Tuesday.
There were 55,000 foreclosures finished last month, down from 68,000 in June of last year, CoreLogic (CLGX.N) said. Still, that was a slight increase from 53,000 foreclosures in May.
Before the housing market's downturn in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month between 2000 and 2006. Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been about 4.5 million foreclosures.
Foreclosures are completed when a home is either seized by the lender or sold at auction.
Over the past year and a half, the battered housing market has gotten back on its feet as prices rose, sales climbed and the foreclosure landscape improved.
There were approximately 1 million homes in some stage of foreclosure, down from 1.4 million a year ago. That foreclosure inventory represented 2.5 percent of all mortgaged homes, down from 3.4 percent in June last year.
The five states with the highest number of foreclosures in the year leading up to June were Florida, California, Michigan, Texas and Georgia, which together accounted for almost half of all foreclosures.
Florida also had the highest percentage of homes sitting in foreclosure, followed by New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Maine.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Leslie Adler)