Reports suggest home prices may improve

Foreclosure sales slowed despite stable inventory levels in March but home prices increased in some states regardless, data indicates.

Foreclosure starts during the month were 8.1 percent higher than in February but remained 31 percent lower year-over-year, according to the March Mortgage Monitor report from Lender Processing Services. National inventory of foreclosures remained mostly unchanged from 2010, but LPS notes that non-judicial states have levels of about 2.45 percent, compared to 6.5 percent in judicial states.

Mortgage delinquencies are declining nationwide, which suggests that the pace of new foreclosures may slow in time, although foreclosure sales dropped to their lowest level since December of 2010. The fall was pronounced in non-judicial states, according to the report.

While this data suggests investors still have significant opportunities to purchase distressed properties, CoreLogic recently indicated that home prices rose during March to achieve annual stability. Chief economist Mark Fleming attributed the stabilization to equalizing supply and demand. Should prices continue to rise, investors might miss their best chance to secure housing for leasing and rental management, unless they act soon.