The number of completed foreclosures in May was down 27 percent, to 50,000, compared to May of last year, analytics firm Core Logic reported Tuesday. One million homes remain in some stage of foreclosure, although that figure is down 29 percent from a year earlier. But while foreclosure rates are down and home prices are rising, the mortgage market remains far from ideal.
Many states, including some of those most severely affected by the mortgage crisis in the first place, still face very high rates of foreclosure. While the overall percentage of mortgages that are in some stage of foreclosure is 2.6 percent, that number is much higher in some places: 8.8 percent in Florida, 6 percent in New Jersey, and 4.8 percent in New York.
Even though foreclosure rates have fallen, many mortgage holders are still in distress. As of the end of 2012, 10 percent of mortgages were underwater by more than 25 percent of the home’s value.
And many homeowners still suffer from banks’ unfair practices. Some of the largest banks have been accused of and even found guilty of fraudulent practices during the last few years. These include dual-tracking, when banks continue to pursue foreclosure while evaluating a homeowner for a mortgage modification, and using robo-signers, which approved foreclosures without verifying the relevant information, leading to hundreds of improper foreclosures on military members and other homeowners.
Cameron Davis is an intern for ThinkProgress.