Foreclosures are continuing a steady fall, as home prices rise and the housing market picks up nationwide. 

About 1 million homes were in some stage of foreclosure in May, down from 1.4 million in May 2012, a 29 percent decline, according to CoreLogic’s latest foreclosure report. As of May, the foreclosure inventory represented 2.6 percent of all homes with a mortgage -- down from 3.5 percent a year prior.

There were 52,000 foreclosures completed nationwide in May, down 27 percent year over year. However, the numbers are still elevated compared to what’s considered normal for the market. Prior to the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month between 2000 and 2006, according to CoreLogic. 

Since September 2008 -- the start of the financial crisis -- about 4.4 million foreclosures have been completed, CoreLogic’s data shows. 

Meanwhile, shadow inventory is down 34 percent from reaching its 2010 peak. It was under 2 million units in April, representing a 5.3 month supply. 

“We continue to see a sharp drop in foreclosures around the country and, with it, a decrease in the size of the shadow inventory,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Affordability, despite the rise in home prices over the past year, and consumer confidence are big contributors to these positive trends. We are particularly encouraged by the broad-based nature of the housing market recovery so far in 2013.”

The stock of seriously delinquent homes, which is the main driver of shadow inventory, is at the lowest level since December 2008, adds Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.  “Over the last year, it has decreased in 42 states by double-digit figures, resulting in rapid declines in shadow inventory for the first quarter of 2013,” Fleming says.

The following five states account for nearly half of all completed foreclosures nationally and had the highest number of completed foreclosures in the last 12 months ending in May: 

  • Florida
  • California
  • Michigan 
  • Texas
  • Georgia

Source: CoreLogic