U.S. Foreclosure Activity Below Pre-Recession Levels In 61 Percent Of U.S. Markets

ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s premier property database and first property data provider of Data-as-a-Service (DaaS), today released its Q1 2020 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows there were a total of 156,253 U.S. properties with a foreclosure filing during the first quarter of 2020, up 42 percent from the previous quarter but down 3 percent from a year ago.

The report also shows a total of 46,800 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings in March 2020, down 3 percent from the previous month and down 20 percent from March 2019 — the third consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in U.S. foreclosure activity.

Todd Teta, ATTOM Data Solutions

“As foreclosure activity across the country continued to decline in March, contributing to a run of quarterly declines, the number of filings remains just one-sixth of what it was following the Great Recession a decade ago,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions.

“This latest sign of the strong national housing market, however, comes with a huge caveat because it captures the pivotal month when millions of Americans started losing their jobs because of the economic fallout connected to the Coronavirus pandemic. Banks are temporarily holding off on foreclosures and we expect this will bring foreclosures even lower for at least the next few quarters.  However, with unemployment and other distress factors hitting the economy now, the numbers could rise significantly later this year and into next, depending on how many people can’t keep up with their payments.”

First quarter 2020 foreclosure activity levels were still above pre-recession averages in 86 out of the 220 markets analyzed (39 percent), including Baltimore, Maryland (114 percent above); Honolulu, Hawaii (69 percent above); Allentown, Pennsylvania (53 percent above); Buffalo, New York (33 percent above); and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (18 percent above).

Other major markets with first quarter foreclosure activity above pre-recession averages included Birmingham, AlabamaPhiladelphia, PennsylvaniaGreensboro, North CarolinaSyracuse, New York; and Winston, North Carolina.

Foreclosure starts decrease 11 percent from last year
Lenders started the foreclosure process on 81,251 U.S. properties in Q1 2020, up 1 percent from the previous quarter but down 11 percent from a year ago — the 19th consecutive quarter with a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure starts.

Counter to the national trend, 11 states posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts in Q1 2020, including Alaska (up 16 percent); Georgia (up 12 percent); California (up 10 percent); Delaware (up 3 percent); and Illinois (up 1 percent).

Lenders repossessed 29,923 U.S. properties through foreclosure (REO) in Q1 2020, down 28 percent from the previous quarter and down 16 percent from a year ago — the 16th consecutive quarter with a year-over-year decrease in U.S. REOs.

Along with the District of Columbia, 41 states posted year-over-year decreases in REOs in the first quarter, including Tennessee (down 39 percent); Florida (down 37 percent); New Jersey (down 33 percent); Pennsylvania (down 32 percent); and Texas (down 29 percent).

Nationwide one in every 873 U.S. housing units had a foreclosure filing in the first quarter of 2020. States with the highest foreclosure rates in the first quarter were New Jersey (one in 406 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Delaware (one in 433); Illinois (one in 448); Maryland (one in 583); and Florida (one in 628).

Among 220 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rates in Q1 2020 were Trenton, New Jersey (one in every 286 housing units); Atlantic City, New Jersey (one in 293); RockfieldIllinois (one in 296);  Lake Havasu City, Arizona (one in 331); and Peoria, Illinois (one in 351).

Other major metros with a population of at least 1 million and foreclosure rates in the top 25 highest nationwide, included Chicago, Illinois at No. 6, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at No. 7, Cleveland, Ohio at No. 9, Riverside, California at No. 12, and Jacksonville, Florida at No. 15.

Properties foreclosed in the first quarter of 2020 had been in the foreclosure process an average of 673 days, down 19 percent from an average 834 days for properties foreclosed in the fourth quarter of 2019 and down 19 percent from an average of 835 days for properties foreclosed in the first quarter of 2019.

Click here to view the average days to foreclose historical graph

States with the longest average foreclosure timelines for properties foreclosed in Q1 2020 were Hawaii (1,673 days), Indiana (1,361 days), Louisiana (1,243 days), New York (1,226 days), and Florida (1,022 days).

States with the shortest average times to foreclose in Q1 2020 were Arkansas (157 days), Wyoming (172 days), New Hampshire (184 days), Virginia (190 days), and Minnesota (202 days).

March 2020 Foreclosure Activity High-Level Takeaways

  • Nationwide in March 2020 one in every 2,914 properties had a foreclosure filing.
  • States with the highest foreclosure rates in March 2020 were Delaware (one in every 1,238 housing units with a foreclosure filing); New Jersey (one in every 1,475 housing units); Illinois (one in every 1,558 housing units); Connecticut (one in every 1,931 housing units); and Florida (one in every 2,015 housing units).
  • 27,812 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in March 2020, up 3 percent from the previous month but down 14 percent from March 2019March 2020 marked the 14th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure starts.
  • Lenders completed the foreclosure process on 9,091 U.S. properties in March 2020, down 13 percent from the previous month and down 25 percent from March 2019.

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