Foreclosure Shoppers Find the Shelves Bare

"If you look at the period of short-lived recovery under the first-time homebuyer tax credits, the foreclosure market was still in the midst of rapid deterioration with the influx of delinquent mortgages," Mayer says. "This time, we are witnessing an entirely different development in the foreclosure market."

U.S. homeowners should take significant comfort from the latest foreclosure numbers.

With discounts thinning out, and less distressed properties on the market, "regular" home values are rising, and that not only helps homeowners; it adds fuel to an economic recovery looking for any help in shifting out of first gear.