There are few statistics that better illustrate our economic travails over the last few years than the number of homes that continue to be foreclosed upon on a monthly basis.

The good news is that the number is shrinking. According to a new report from CoreLogic, there were a total of 49,000 completed foreclosures in July. This was 8.6% less than June and 25% below the same month last year. To see the figures for June, click here.

The bad news is that we still have a ways to go before things normalize. Between 2000 and 2006, CoreLogic estimates that there was an average of only 21,000 completed foreclosures each month. The current rate will accordingly need to fall by 57% to get back to that level.

That being said, the state of the foreclosure market is not uniform across the country. What follows, in turn, are the five states with the most foreclosures over the past 12 months.


Completed Foreclosures Over the Past 12 Months

Foreclosure Inventory as a Percent of Mortgaged Homes
















Source: CoreLogic.

The fact that Florida and California are at the top of the list should come as little surprise, as these states experienced some of the most dramatic volatility in home prices before, during, and after the housing bubble.

So why does this matter? At least in the banking space, regional economic figures like these can make a big difference for the success or failure of lenders. It goes a long way toward explaining the problems at SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI), which is based in Georgia, Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), which assumed Wachovia's heavy Florida presence, and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), which has a significant footprint in California that was added to via its purchase of Countrywide Financial.

While Wells Fargo has since rebounded more than perhaps any bank in the country -- notching seven straight quarters of $100-billion-plus in mortgage originations -- Bank of America and SunTrust are still struggling to absorb losses on toxic portfolios of souring mortgages. In the most recent fiscal year, their net charge-offs of bad loans amounted to 1.6% and 1.4% of their total loan portfolio compared to, say, the more conservative U.S. Bancorp, which had a net charge-off ratio of 0.9% for the same time period.