An estimated 48,000 foreclosures were completed in the U.S. in August, down from 72,000 in August 2012, a decrease of 34%, reports CoreLogic.

Before the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.

Completed foreclosures help indicate the total number of homes actually lost to foreclosure. Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 4.5 million completed foreclosures across the country. As of August, approximately 939,000 U.S. homes were in some stage of foreclosure, known as the foreclosure inventory, compared to 1.4 million in August 2012, a year-over-year decrease of 33%.

The foreclosure inventory as of August 2013 represented 2.4% of all homes with a mortgage compared to 3.3% in August 2012. On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures increased 1.3% in August 2013, from 47,000 a month earlier.

At the end of August 2013, there were approximately 2.1 million mortgages, or 5.3%, in serious delinquency (SDQ, defined as 90 days or more past due, including those loans in foreclosure or real estate owned, REO). The rate of seriously delinquent mortgages is at its lowest mark since December 2008.

"The foreclosure inventory continues to improve, as exhibited by these recent numbers," said Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "A surge in completed foreclosures and a rise in the foreclosure inventory is unlikely given continued house price improvements and shortages of supply in many markets."

"Over the past year, the value of the U.S. shadow inventory dropped by $87 billion—a sign of increased normalcy in the housing market," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "With a year-over-year decrease of 22 percent in July, the shadow inventory has now declined steadily for 10 consecutive months."

The three states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in August were: Florida (111,000), Michigan (60,000) and California (58,000). The three states with the lowest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in August were: District of Columbia (94), North Dakota (463) and Hawaii (492).

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