U.S. Foreclosure Activity Hits Historic Lows Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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There were 14,148 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings in April 2020, down 70 percent from March 2020 and down 75 percent from a year ago. Nationally, one in every 9,639 U.S. properties received a foreclosure filing during the month of April.

Not surprisingly, due to recent federal legislation ordering a two-month moratorium on foreclosures by lenders holding federally backed mortgages, this is the lowest number of foreclosure filings ATTOM has ever recorded nationwide since it began tracking the data in April 2005.

“Foreclosure cases dropped dramatically last month following the foreclosure moratorium imposed on lenders holding federally backed mortgages,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. “It’s hard to know how much this reflects the virus pandemic because the data doesn’t say whether these were cases caused by very recent job losses or were already filed before that. What can be said is that the drop-off will almost certainly be temporary. And when it’s lifted, we should be able to more clearly measure how deeply the pandemic fallout is affecting homeowners. ATTOM is monitoring this closely with monthly, quarterly and annual updates.”

Foreclosure starts drop below ten thousand nationwide

Lenders started the foreclosure process for the first time on 8,552 property owners in April 2020, down 69 percent from the previous month and down 72 percent from a year ago.

States that saw the sharp declines year-over-year in foreclosure starts, included Georgia (down 85 percent); North Carolina (down 84 percent); Florida (down 83 percent); Michigan (down 82 percent); and Colorado (down 81 percent).

In a more granular look that runs counter to the national trend, there were some counties that experienced an increase in foreclosure starts in April 2020. Those counties with an annual increase, included Marin County, California (up 76 percent); Monterey County, California (up 42 percent); Mesa County, Colorado (up 40 percent); Solano County, California (up 36 percent); and Hillsborough County, Florida (up 18 percent).

Delaware, Maryland, and Illinois post worst foreclosure rates

States with the worst foreclosure rates in April 2020 were Delaware (one in every 2,745 housing units); Maryland (one in every 3,809 housing units); Illinois (one in every 5,353 housing units); Connecticut (one in every 5,519 housing units); and Florida (one in every 6,171 housing units).

Among 220 metropolitan statistical areas with at least 200,000 people, those with the worst foreclosure rates in April were not your usual metro areas. In fact, California metro areas made up 3 of the top 5 metro areas. With Vallejo-Fairfield, California (one in every 1,105 housing units); Peoria, Illinois (one in every 1,173 housing units); Reading, Pennsylvania (one in every 1,813 housing units); Santa Rosa, California (one in every 2,016 housing units); and Salinas, California (one in every 2,434 housing units);

Among 53 metro areas with at least 1 million people, those with the highest foreclosure rates in April were Tampa, Florida (one in every 2,818 housing units); Baltimore, Maryland (one in every 3,025 housing units); New Orleans, Louisiana (one in every 3,457 housing units); San Antonio, Texas (one in every 3,519 housing units); and Louisville, Kentucky (one in every 3,746 housing units).

Bank repossessions drop 76 percent from last year

Lenders repossessed 2,641 U.S. properties in April 2020 (REO), down 71 percent from the previous month and down 76 percent from a year ago, to the lowest levels ever.

States that saw the greatest actual number of completed foreclosures but are still down from last year, included Florida (387 REOs, but down 72 percent from last year); Illinois (255 REOs, but down 65 percent from last year); California (199 REOs, but down 72 percent from last year); Georgia (194 REOs, but down 48 percent from last year); and Texas (190 REOs, but down 75 percent from last year).

Those metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million that saw an annual decrease included Los Angeles, California (down 80 percent); Chicago, Illinois (down 67 percent); New York, New York (down 77 percent); Tampa, Florida (down 71 percent); and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (down 94 percent).

Please contact us if you have questions about the underlying data referenced in this article, or would like to have access to that data in the form of custom reports, API, Bulk File or DaaS.

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