Foreclosures decline nationwide despite general slump: report

May 09, 2012 12:00PM

Declining real estate owned sales and stable home prices boded well for the national housing market in March, despite deeper economic concerns, according to CoreLogic’s most recent MarketPulse Report, released today. Short sales, modifications and other foreclosure alternatives are playing a larger role, the report says, and the rate of new foreclosures is declining.

Overall home sales nationwide continued to improve, with 410,000 sales in March — up 20 percent year-over-year — marking the highest volume of sales in the month of March since 2007.

Mortgage performance is experiencing a “slow and steady improvement,” the report says, as the 90-plus day delinquency rate in March fell to 7 percent, the lowest rate since July 2009.

“This decline in serious [90-plus day] delinquency represents a significant reduction of approximately three quarters of a million borrowers,” Mark Fleming , chief economist at CoreLogic, said in the report.

But the improvements are measured, to say the least. In March the overall foreclosure rate remained steady at 3.4 percent (1.4 million homes), down only slightly from January 2010’s peak of 3.6 percent. The economy overall is back in the slow lane, the report says, with growth in the first quarter of 2012 decelerating to 2.2 percent, from 3 percent in the last quarter of 2011, the report says. — Guelda Voien