CHICAGO - Backlogs in foreclosure processing are causing delays in home-price improvement and could wind up affecting the cost of a mortgage.

The situation appears worst in New York, where it takes an average of nearly three years - 1,072 days, to be exact - for a home to go through the foreclosure process. It's not much better in New Jersey, where it took an average of 931 days to foreclose on a home, or in Florida, about 858 days.

Nationwide, the average time for homes to spend in the foreclosure process was 382 days. That may seem better, but not compared with the average of only 140 days in the third quarter of 2007.

At the current rate of processing, the volume of foreclosures in progress is still high, even as the economy is improving and fewer mortgages are becoming delinquent. Some experts think it'll be 2015 before foreclosure inventories begin to approach normal levels.

High-foreclosure-inventory volume affects home prices.

Prices are rising faster in places where the foreclosure process isn't so delayed, including Arizona, where it takes 194 days for a foreclosure to be completed, according to RealtyTrac.