Foreclosures Decline Ahead of Housing Slowdown

Getty Images

Fewer U.S. foreclosures were completed in May compared to a year ago, while the number of houses in the foreclosure process also declined as the market continued to heal, data analysis firm CoreLogic said Tuesday.

There were 52,000 foreclosures completed, well below the 71,000 in May 2012, CoreLogic said. Even so, that was up from 50,000 in April 2013.

Prior to the housing market's collapse, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 a month between 2000 and 2006. There have been approximately 4.4 million foreclosures finished since the start of the financial crisis in September 2008, the report said.

Foreclosures are completed when a home is either seized by the lender or sold at auction.

About 1 million homes were in some stage of foreclosure as of May, down from 1.4 million a year earlier. The foreclosure inventory accounts for 2.6 percent of all homes with a mortgage. In recent weeks, however, the housing market has begun to weaken as mortgage rates have increased after the Federal Reserve has said it is considering tapering its easy money policy.

Florida had the largest number of foreclosures in the 12 months ending in May, followed by California, Michigan, Texas and Georgia. Those five states accounted for almost half of all completed foreclosures.

Florida, which was hit hard by the housing crisis, also had the highest percentage of foreclosure inventory. The top five was rounded out by New Jersey, New York, Maine and Connecticut.

—By Reuters, with