Foreclosure inventory plunged nearly 25 percent last month. The number of completed foreclosures, which reflect the total number of homes actually lost, fell almost 20 percent year-over-year, according to CoreLogic’s latest National Foreclosure Report.

There were 40,000 completed foreclosures nationwide in the month, down from 50,000 a year prior. Foreclosure levels have fallen nearly 66 percent from their peak in September 2010.

The following states had the highest foreclosure inventory (as a percentage of all homes with a mortgage):

New Jersey: 5.1 percent
New York: 3.8 percent
Florida: 3.1 percent
Hawaii: 2.6 percent
District of Columbia: 2.5 percent

More homeowners are keeping up with their mortgage payments, with the number of loans 90 days or more past due down 22 percent year-over-year, CoreLogic’s report shows. About 1.4 million mortgages are “seriously delinquent,” the lowest rate since February 2008.

“By mid-2011, after the Great Recession and at the trough of the house-price collapse, more than 1.5 million homes were in the foreclosure pipeline,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Employment recovery, foreclosure alternatives, and home-value gains have worked to reduce this inventory.”

The foreclosure inventory has fallen to one-third of its mid-2011 level, Nothaft notes.

The NAR reports that distressed sales, including foreclosures and short sales, accounted for 10 percent of all existing-home sales in the latest reporting month, below the 15 percent share a year ago. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value while short sales were discounted by 14 percent.

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