A smaller number of mortgage delinquencies and increased sales of distressed properties meant the housing market's "shadow inventory" slipped to 1.7 million homes in April, compared with 1.9 million properties a year ago, data provider CoreLogic said Wednesday.
Still, the number represents a five-month supply of homes nationally that are not yet listed as available for sale, a statistic that translates into continued pressure on the traditional real estate market.
Another 2 million properties are upside down by more than 50 percent, or $150,000, the company said. Those properties are at risk of foreclosure if the homeowner is suddenly unable to pay the mortgage.
CoreLogic's definition of shadow inventory includes 790,000 distressed properties that are 90 days or more delinquent, 440,000 that are in foreclosure and another 440,000 that have already repossessed by lenders but have not yet been listed for sale. CoreLogic's estimate of shadow inventory peaked at 2 million units in January 2010.
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