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Supply of ‘shadow’ homes declines again

House hunters looking for bargain properties in the new year will probably be disappointed.

A new report by Santa Ana firm CoreLogic shows pending home supply declined again in October. This shadow inventory fell 12.3% from the year prior to stand at 2.6 million units, or a supply of about seven months.

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The housing recovery that began last year was spurred by tight inventory and strong demand from investors and buyers motivated by record-low mortgage-interest rates.

Those factors have helped push up prices in recent months. In a news release announcing the new data, CoreLogic analysts said that given the strong demand from investors, and others, the current shadow supply is unlikely to drag down the market in 2013.

“The size of the shadow inventory continues to shrink from peak levels in terms of numbers of units and the dollars they represent,” CoreLogic Chief Executive Anand Nallathambi said in that release. “We expect a gradual and progressive contraction in the shadow inventory in 2013 as investors continue to snap up foreclosed and REO properties and the broader recovery in housing market fundamentals takes hold.”

CoreLogic estimates the supply of homes that are seriously delinquent, in foreclosure or held by lenders and not currently on the market. Investors and economists keep an eye on shadow inventory to get a sense of how many homes might be headed into foreclosure and hitting the market.

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CoreLogic estimated the dollar amount of shadow inventory as $376 billion in October, a decline from $399 billion the same month a year before. Florida, California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey made up about 45% of the shadow supply reported by CoreLogic on Wednesday.

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