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Completed foreclosures, inventory drop in 2013

Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 8:42:32 AM

Not only has the number of completed foreclosures declined in December, but the total inventory has been on the way down as well, according to a recent industry report.

Overall, the national inventory of foreclosed houses has dropped 31 percent throughout all of 2013, CoreLogic reported. In total, there were 620,111 completed foreclosures for the year, 24 percent below the number in 2012. In addition, there were roughly 837,000 homes in some stage of the process by December 2013, compared to 1.2 million during the same time the year prior.

"The foreclosure inventory fell by more than 30 percent in December on a year-over-year basis, twice the decline from a year ago," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "The decline indicates that the distressed foreclosure inventory is healing at an accelerating rate heading into 2014."

According to Fitch Ratings, that change may not be solely attributed to positive equity. While higher home prices do impact residential financing and consumer sentiment, other factors may play a large role. For example, the composition of borrowers is important as well. There are also more constricting underwriting and origination guidelines, and those with poor credit history could have a hard time using their existing equity to their advantage.