The "shadow" inventory of homes — those that have been repossessed or are headed for foreclosure, which traditional supply measures do not capture — jumped 55% from a year earlier, to 1.7 million on Sept. 30, First American CoreLogic said.

By contrast, "visible supply" — homes that are on the market — dropped 19%, to 3.8 million units, over the same period, the unit of First American Corp. of Santa Ana, Calif., said last week.

At the current sales rate it would take 3.3 months to unload the shadow inventory, up from 2.4 months a year earlier, First American CoreLogic said. The visible inventory would take 7.8 months to clear, down from 10.1 months at the same time in 2008.

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