Foreclosure activity continues to wane across the U.S. with 52,000 foreclosures completed in April, down 16% from 62,000 a year earlier, CoreLogic (CLGX) said Wednesday.

On a month-over-month basis, the number of finalized foreclosures remains unchanged.

Last month, 1.1 million homes lingered in some stage of foreclosure – making up the nation’s foreclosure inventory.

Compared to a year ago, this foreclosure pipeline is down 24% from 1.5 million in April 2012, signifying an improving housing market that is benefiting from rising prices and home sales.

“The shadow of foreclosure and distress continues to fade, with the annualized sum of completed foreclosures having declined for 17 straight months,” said Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Six states have year-over-year declines in the foreclosure inventory of more than 40%, and in Arizona and California the year-over-year decline is more than 50%.”

Still, the recovery remains bifurcated with judicial foreclosure states maintaining the highest foreclosure inventory rates while judicial states continue to work through their distressed pipelines.

The judicial foreclosure state of Florida recorded a 9.5% foreclosure inventory rate in April.

Meanwhile, New York and New Jersey – both judicial foreclosure states – posted foreclosure inventory rates of 7.4% and 5.1%, respectively. 

Compare those figures to other hardest-hit states that offer nonjudicial foreclosures – namely Arizona and California – and the local foreclosure inventory rate drops to under 1.5%.

The states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the past 12 months include Florida (102,000); California (79,000); Michigan (68,000); Texas (53,000); and Georgia (47,000).

Those with the lowest finalized transactions include South Dakota (with only 81 completed foreclosures); the District of Columbia (100); North Dakota (461); Hawaii (466) and West Virginia (527).

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