The number of completed foreclosures in the U.S. dropped 24 percent last year, compared to 2012, according to a report from CoreLogic. 

There were 620,111 homes lost to foreclosure nationwide in 2013, compared to a total of 820,498 homes in 2012.   

Foreclosure numbers have dropped for several months. In December, a total of 45,000 homes were foreclosed on, down 14 percent from the 52,000 foreclosed homes in December 2012.

On a monthly basis, completed foreclosures dropped 4.1 percent from the 47,000 reported in November.  

"Clearly, 2013 was a transitional year for residential property in the U.S.," Anand Nallathambi, president of CoreLogic, said in the report. "Higher home prices and lower shadow inventory levels, together with a slowly improving economy, are hopeful signals that we are turning a long-awaited corner." 

Since the start of the financial crisis in September 2008, a total of 4.8 million homes have been foreclosed on, CoreLogic reports. In comparison, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006. 

A report from RealtyTrac earlier this month showed foreclosure filings dropped 26 percent in 2013 compared to 2012. 

The housing market is forecast to continue its recovery but at a slower pace, the report states. 

As of December 2013, there were approximately 837,000 U.S. homes in some stage of foreclosure, known as the foreclosure inventory. This compared to 1.2 million in December 2012, a yearly decrease of 31 percent.   

December's foreclosure inventory represented 2.1 percent of all homes with a mortgage, compared to 3.0 percent one year prior. 

"The foreclosure inventory fell by more than 30 percent in December on a year-over-year basis, twice the decline from a year ago," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "The decline indicates that the distressed foreclosure inventory is healing at an accelerating rate heading into 2014."

More from the report: 

    •    The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in December 2013 were Florida (119,000), Michigan (53,000), California (39,000), Texas (39,000) and Georgia (35,000). These five states accounted for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.
 
   •    The five states with the lowest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in December 2013 were District of Columbia (63), North Dakota (417), Hawaii (493), West Virginia (505) and Wyoming (759).

    •    The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were Florida (6.7 percent), New Jersey (6.5 percent), New York (4.9 percent), Connecticut (3.6 percent) and Maine (3.6 percent).

    •    The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were Wyoming (0.4 percent), Alaska (0.5 percent), North Dakota (0.6 percent), Colorado (0.6 percent) and Nebraska (0.6 percent).

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