The number of foreclosures completed in 2011 fell 24 percent to 830,000 from 1.1 million in 2010. Data released by CoreLogic shows that, not only were foreclosures down year-over-year, but they also dropped 8.4 percent in December. Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist, said the inventory of foreclosed properties has begun to shrink and the pace at which properties are entering foreclosure is slowing. At the end of 2011, 3.4 percent of all homes were in the foreclosure inventory. And though the rate at which foreclosures are completed has been slowed, in part, due to judicial and regulatory constraints, a declining number of foreclosures is key to a healthy housing market. More here and here.