NEW YORK Feb 1 Lenders seized fewer U.S. homes
in December, while the number of properties awaiting foreclosure
also declined in a sign the housing market is working through
one of its biggest challenges, data from CoreLogic showed on
There were 56,000 completed foreclosures in December, down
from 58,000 the month before and 71,000 a year ago, CoreLogic
Before the housing market collapsed, monthly foreclosures
averaged 21,000 between 2000 and 2006. Since the heart of the
financial crisis in September 2008, there have been about 4.1
million completed foreclosures.
For the year, 767,000 foreclosures were done in 2012, down
from 916,547 the year before.
About 1.2 million homes were in some stage of the
foreclosure process, down from 1.5 million in December 2011.
That amounts to 3 percent of all mortgaged homes.
"This big improvement indicates we are working toward
resolving the backlog of the most distressed assets in the
shadow inventory," Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic,
said in a statement.
Just five states accounted for almost half of all
foreclosures during 2012. California took the top spot with
100,000 foreclosures, followed by Florida, Michigan, Texas and
Florida had the highest amount of properties sitting in the
foreclosure process at 10.1 percent of homes.