U.S. Foreclosure Activity Drops To 13-Year Low In 2018

Foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 624,753 U.S. properties in 2018, down 8 percent from 2017 and down 78 percent from a peak of nearly 2.9 million in 2010 to the lowest level since 2005, according to a new report from property database curator ATTOM Data Solutions.

The company, in its Year-End 2018 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, showed that those 624,753 properties with foreclosure filings in 2018 represented 0.47 percent of all U.S. housing units, down from 0.51 percent in 2017 and down from a peak of 2.23 percent in 2010 to the lowest level since 2005.

“Plummeting foreclosure completions combined with consistently falling foreclosure timelines in 2018 provide evidence that most of the distress from the last housing crisis has now been cleaned up,” said Todd Teta, Chief Product Officer. “But there was also some evidence of distress gradually returning to the housing market in 2018, with foreclosure starts increasing from the previous year in more than one-third of all state and local housing markets.

“Some of that distress was driven by natural disasters, most notably in Houston, where foreclosure starts increased 61 percent,” Teta continued. “But natural disasters do not explain the increase in markets such as Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee and Austin — all of which posted double-digit percentage increases in foreclosure starts in 2018.”

Bank repossessions decrease 78 percent since their peak in 2010

Lenders repossessed 230,305 properties through foreclosure (REO) in 2018, down 21 percent from 2017 and down 78 percent from a peak of 1,050,500 in 2010 to the lowest level as far back as data is available — 2006.

While completed foreclosures (REOs) are on the decline, California and Florida combined have totaled nearly 1.5 million over the last 10 years. States to lead the nation in REOs also include Michigan (327,783), Texas (313,930), Georgia (299,394) and Illinois (303,404).

Counter to the national trend, five states posted a year-over-year increase in REOs, led by New Mexico (up 20 percent); North Dakota (up 15 percent); Alaska (up 8 percent); Connecticut (up 5 percent); and Maine (up 5 percent).

Metropolitan statistical areas with a population greater than 200,000 that saw a year-over-year increase in REOs included Flint, Michigan (up 161 percent), Beaumont, Texas (up 63 percent), Albuquerque, New Mexico (up 27 percent), Greeley, Colorado (up 24 percent) and Houston, Texas (up 17 percent).

Foreclosure starts at new record low nationwide, increase in 18 states

Lenders started the foreclosure process on 369,170 U.S. properties in 2018, down 6 percent from 2017 and down 83 percent from a peak of 2,139,005 in 2009 to a new all-time low going back as far as foreclosure start data is available — 2006.

States that saw the biggest decline in foreclosure starts from last year included Rhode Island (down 39 percent); Hawaii(down 26 percent); North Carolina (down 24 percent); Washington (down 24 percent); and Connecticut (down 23 percent).

Those metropolitan statistical areas that all saw a large decline in foreclosure starts from last year included Salinas, California (down 49 percent; San Luis Obispo (down 44 percent); Tyler, Texas (down 42 percent); Durham, North Carolina(down 40 percent); and Portland, Oregon (down 32 percent).

Counter to the national trend, 18 states posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts in 2018, including Minnesota(up 29 percent); Texas (up 15 percent); Michigan (up 15 percent); Florida (up 13 percent); Louisiana (up 5 percent); and Delaware (up 2 percent).

Find out more at datareports@attomdata.com.

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