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The number of completed foreclosures continued to fall in November, with 41,000 borrowers losing their homes, down from 46,000 in November 2013, according to CoreLogic, a real estate analytics firm. That's a 64 percent drop from the peak in September 2010.
"It will be about two more years until we are back to historical norms," said Molly Boesel, a senior economist at CoreLogic.
Before the housing crisis, the average monthly foreclosure count was about 21,000. Foreclosures are now running at the pace last seen in 2007, the start of the crisis. Boesel said they will likely remain at this elevated rate, leveling off, until the pipeline of distressed loans, mostly from the worst lending of the housing boom, is cleared.
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About 567,000 homes nationally were still in some stage of foreclosure in November. This so-called foreclosure inventory, compares with 880,000 in November 2013, a year-over-year decrease of 35.5 percent. The inventory has been falling on an annual basis for 37-consecutive months.
"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," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.
The foreclosure rate fell in every state, with only the District of Columbia seeing a small increase. Rates vary dramatically by state, however, due to differing laws for processing foreclosed properties. Some states have twice the national rate due to delays.
Five states accounted for nearly half of all completed foreclosures nationally for the 12 months ended in November. They were Florida (118,000), Michigan (50,000), Texas (36,000), California (29,000) and Ohio (29,000), according to CoreLogic.