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Chicago Foreclosures Remain Above National Levels in December

by James F. McClister

Foreclosure activity in 2014 ended well, but pockets remain in dire straights.

CoreLogic-Foreclosures-December-serious-deliquency1

To cap off 2014, the national foreclosure inventory continued deflating, falling a staggering 34 percent year-over-year, according to CoreLogic’s newest foreclosure report.

As of December, the nation’s foreclosure inventory (approx. 552,000) represented a 1.4 percent share of total inventory, which marks a 0.7 percent decrease from last year. Completed foreclosures were similarly down, the report read, tumbling 13.7 percent year-over-year from 49,000 to 36,000, and 66 percent from their peak in September 2010.

The country’s serious delinquency rate has fallen significantly in the last year, from 21.6 percent in December 2013 to 4.1 percent in December 2014 – the lowest point it has been since June 2008.

In the Windy City, the significance of foreclosures, while dwindling, persists, as inventory share dropped 1.5 percentage points year-over-year to 2.1 percent – well above national levels. CoreLogic recorded the city’s serious delinquency rate at a relatively high 5.8 percent, which could lead to a slight injection of foreclosures later in 2015.

From a more encompassing perspective, Illinois is heading in a similar direction as its largest metro, if not at a quickened pace. In the final days of 2014, the state’s foreclosure inventory dropped to 1.8 percent and serious delinquencies settled at 5.1 percent.

A Generally Positive Direction

Across the country, the momentum was largely aimed in a positive direction. CoreLogic’s report found:

  • All states posted double-digit year-over-year declines in foreclosure inventory with the exception of West Virginia, which experienced a 9.5 percent decrease. The District of Columbia experienced a 21.7 percent increase.
  • Thirty-three states showed declines in year-over-year foreclosure inventory of greater than 30 percent, with the largest declines in Utah (-48.8 percent) and Florida (-48.6 percent).
  • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in December 2014 were Florida (118,000), Michigan (49,000), Texas (35,000), California (29,000) and Ohio (28,000). These five states accounted for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.

The Recovery is Off-Balance

As we reported earlier this month, home prices in December fell flat as the year came to a close, but a strong performance in national foreclosures suggests a healthy direction for the overall market.

“In 2014, the annual sum of completed foreclosures declined 15 percent from the 662,000 reported in 2013,” Sam Khater, deputy chief ec0onomist at CoreLogic, said. “Completed foreclosures last year were less than half the 1.2 million peak in 2010, but remain twice the level of normal activity over 10 years ago.”

CoreLogic CEO and President Anand Nallathambi agreed with Khater, saying that “the steady decline in the number of completed foreclosures is a good sign of healing in the U.S. housing market,” but pointed to disparities among regions as a red flag.

“There remains many pockets of the country with very high foreclosure inventories, underscoring the unevenness of the nation’s housing recovery,” he said.

However, while Nallathambi’s observation is correct, several troubled areas, like Miami, where foreclosures are congested and plenty, are benefitting from rapidly declining levels that could place them in the realm of foreclosure normalcy by 2015’s end.

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