The nation’s shadow inventory remained flat in January compared to October figures but shrunk about 10% from levels seen a year earlier, according to new data from CoreLogic.

Shadow inventory totaled 1.6 million units in January, a six-month supply, down from January 2011 when it stood at 1.8 million units, a supply of eight months.

The flow of distressed sales (short sales and real estate owned) offset the roughly equal flow of new seriously delinquent (90 days or more) loans into the shadow inventory.

“Almost half of the shadow inventory is not yet in the foreclosure process,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Shadow inventory also remains concentrated in states impacted by sharp price declines and states with long foreclosure timelines.”

Of the 1.6 million properties in the shadow inventory, 800,000 units are seriously delinquent, 410,000 are in some stage of foreclosure and 400,000 are already in REO.

Florida, California and Illinois account for more than a third of the nation’s shadow inventory. The top six states, which also include New York, Texas and New Jersey, account for half of the shadow inventory.

“The shadow inventory remains persistent even though many other metrics of the housing market show signs of improvements. In some hard-hit markets the demand for REO and distressed property is now outstripping supply,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO for CoreLogic.

The shadow inventory level is about four times higher than its low point of 380,000 properties at the peak of the housing bubble in mid-2006. Click on the image below for a detailed look:

The shadow inventory is approximately half of the size of all visible inventory listings, CoreLogic estimates. For every two homes available for sale, there is one home in the “shadows.”

CoreLogic estimates shadow inventory by calculating the number of distressed properties not currently listed on multiple listing services that are seriously delinquent, in foreclosure and real estate owned by lenders.




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