U.S. shadow homes inventory lowest in over 3 years -CoreLogic

NEW YORK, Oct 9 (Reuters) - The number of U.S. homes thatcould soon come onto the market fell to the lowest in more thanthree years as of July as distressed sales offset newdelinquencies in an encouraging sign for the housing market, adata analyst firm said on Tuesday.

The pending supply of homes, also known as shadow inventory,fell to 2.3 million units as of the end of July, down 10.2percent from 2.6 million units a year ago and at the same levelas March 2009, CoreLogic said. The July data is themost recent available.

Shadow inventory includes the number of properties that areseriously delinquent or behind with loan payments, inforeclosure or held by lenders and servicers but not currentlylisted on the market. At the end of July it was equal to aboutsix months' supply, CoreLogic said.

While many economists believe the housing market has finallyturned a corner as prices have stabilized, the sector stillfaces many challenges including the swollen pipeline offoreclosures that need to be absorbed by the market.

A decline in shadow inventory should help the nascentrecovery as fewer properties coming onto the market means lessdownward pressure on prices.

"Broadly speaking, the shadow inventory continued to shrinkin July," Anand Nallathambi, chief executive of CoreLogic saidin a statement. "This is yet another hopeful sign that thehousing market is slowly healing."

Of the properties in shadow inventory, one millionhomeowners were 90 days or more behind on their mortgagepayments, considered to be seriously delinquent. As well,900,000 homes were in some stage of foreclosure, and 345,000 hadalready been seized by the banks.

The dollar volume of shadow inventory was $382 billion, downfrom $397 billion a year ago.

CoreLogic revised its methodology for the report and updatedprevious figures.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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