NEW YORK The number of homes likely to hit the market soon fell as of January compared to a year earlier, as distressed sales offset new delinquencies, a data analysis firm said on Wednesday.
CoreLogic (CLGX.N) said that at the end of January the so-called shadow inventory of homes stood at 1.6 million homes, down from 1.8 million in January last year.
The figure for 2012 is equal to six months' supply.
The flow of new seriously delinquent loans - where the payment is at least 90 days late - was offset by a roughly equal amount of sales of distressed properties, the report said.
Of the homes in shadow inventory, 800,000 homes were seriously delinquent, 410,000 were in some stage of the foreclosure process, and 400,000 were already seized by lenders.
"Almost half of the shadow inventory is not yet in the foreclosure process", Mark Fleming, chief economist at CoreLogic, said in a statement.
"Shadow inventory also remains concentrated in states impacted by sharp price declines and states with long foreclosure timelines."
Florida, California and Illinois account for more than a third of the inventory.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by James Dalgleish)