Make no mistake about it: Things are much better today than they were one year ago. And they were much better last year than the year before.
We were reminded of this in a recent report on the state of the foreclosure market published by data analytics firm CoreLogic (NYSE:CLGX). At the same time, however, we were also reminded of how much further we still have to go before the crisis is fully and finally behind us. What follows, in turn, are the five most revealing numbers that CoreLogic uncovered in its report.
1. 4.4 million
There have been 4.4 million completed foreclosures since the financial crisis began in September 2008.
This is the number of completed foreclosures in Florida over the past 12 months. By means of comparison, there have been 108 completed foreclosures in the District of Columbia over the same time period. Adjusting for the population difference, in Florida, the number of foreclosures per household was 1.45%, while in DC, it was only 0.04%.
The Sunshine State is far and away the worst offender in this regard. CoreLogic estimates that 13.3% of mortgages in Florida are seriously delinquent -- that is, more than 90 days late -- and that the inventory of foreclosed homes is equivalent to 8.8% of all mortgaged homes.
This is the percent of mortgages across the country that were seriously delinquent at the end of May. On an absolute basis, it equates to 2.3 million mortgages.
According to Dr. Mark Fleming, CoreLogic's chief economist, "The stock of seriously delinquent homes, which is the main driver of shadow inventory, is at the lowest level since December 2008. Over the last year, it has decreased in 42 states by double-digit figures, resulting in rapid declines in shadow inventory for the first quarter of 2013."
4. 1.9 million
This is the number of homes in the so-called shadow inventory, which "includes properties that are more than 90 days delinquent, in foreclosure, and held as real estate owned (REO) by mortgage servicers, but not currently on multiple listing services."
Otherwise known as pending supply, this has often been cited as a potential impediment to the housing recovery. But at this point, given the supply problems in the market for both new and existing homes, it may in fact be a relief if more of the shadow inventory came online.
5. 19 months
This is the number of consecutive months with a year-over-year decline in the foreclosure inventory. In May, the figure fell by an impressive 29% compared to the same month last year and by 3.3% relative to April.
As of May, CoreLogic estimates that approximately 1 million homes are in some stage of foreclosure. That equates to 2.6% of all mortgaged homes versus 3.5% last year.
When will things normalize?
To be frank, it will take years before the housing market returns to its previous glory. But to reiterate, things are getting better, and they will continue to do so.