The number of completed foreclosures saw declines both monthly and yearly, according to the most recent foreclosure report from CoreLogic.
In July, 58,000 homes were lost to the foreclosure process compared to 69,000 in July 2011 and 62,000 the month before in June.
Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, explained servicers are seeking options outside of foreclosure.
“Completed foreclosures were down again in July, this time by 16 percent versus a year ago, as servicers increasingly rely on alternatives to the foreclosure process, such as short sales and modifications,” said Fleming.
The percentage of homes with a mortgage sitting in foreclosure inventory also declined to 3.2 percent, or 1.3 million homes, down from 3.5 percent, or 1.5 million homes, in July 2011. Month-over-month, the figure was unchanged.
All mortgaged homes in any stage of the foreclosure process is counted as foreclosure inventory.
“The decline in completed foreclosures is yet another positive signal that the housing market is continuing on a progressive path of stabilization and recovery,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.
Five states accounted for nearly half (48.1 percent) of all completed foreclosures over a one year period ending in July 2012. Those states were California (118,000), Florida (92,000), Michigan (61,000), Texas (57,000), and Georgia (54,000).
The states that foreclosed on the smallest number of properties over the same yearly period were South Dakota (32), District of Columbia (120), Hawaii (445), North Dakota (575), and Maine (608).
Among the largest metro areas tracked by CoreLogic, Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Georgia topped the list with 36,346 completed foreclosures in a one-year period. Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Arizona ranked second with 32,722 completed foreclosures, followed by Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California (23,670); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California (19,599); and Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Illinois (19,236).
The five states with the highest percentage of mortgaged homes in foreclosure inventory were Florida (11.2 percent), New Jersey (5.7 percent), New York (5.2 percent), Illinois (4.9 percent), and Nevada (4.7 percent).
The five states with the lowest percentage of mortgaged homes in foreclosure inventory were Wyoming (0.5 percent), Alaska (0.8 percent), North Dakota (0.8 percent), Nebraska (0.9 percent), and South Dakota (1.1 percent).
Two Florida metros had the highest percentage of mortgaged homes in foreclosure: Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (11.5 percent) and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (11.3 percent).