ATTOM: U.S. Foreclosure Activity at 13-Year Low

ATTOM Data Solutions, Irvine, Calif., released its Year-End 2018 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows foreclosure filings fell by 8 percent in 2018 from the year before and by 78 percent from its 2010 peak.

The report listed default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions on 624,753 U.S. properties in 2018, representing 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.

For December, ATTOM reported 52,069 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings, down 2 percent from the previous month and down 19 percent from a year ago, the sixth consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease.

“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 ATTOM Chief Product Officer Todd Teta. “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.

Teta said some of that distress was driven by natural disasters, most notably in Houston, where foreclosure starts increased 61 percent. “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.”

Other report data:
–Lenders repossessed 230,305 properties through foreclosure in 2018, down 21 percent from 2017 and down 78 percent from a peak of 1.051 million in 2010 to the lowest level as far back as data is available (2006).

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

–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 million in 2009 to a record low.

–States with the highest foreclosure rates in 2018 were New Jersey (1.33 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Delaware (.96 percent); Maryland (0.86 percent); Illinois (0.74 percent); and Connecticut (0.72 percent). New Jersey has held the top spot since 2015.

–Among 219 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rates in 2018 were Atlantic City, N.J. (2.37 percent); Trenton, N.J. (1.56 percent); Flint, Mich. (1.16 percent); Philadelphia (1.06 percent); Peoria, Ill. (1.03 percent); Cleveland (1.00 percent); and Columbia, S.C. (0.95 percent).

–U.S. properties foreclosed in the fourth quarter had been in the foreclosure process an average of 811 days, a 14 percent jump from the previous quarter but still down 21 percent decrease from a year ago, the fourth consecutive quarter with a year-over-year decline.

–States with the longest average time to foreclose in the fourth quater were Hawaii (1,429 days); Florida (1,311 days); Indiana (1,214 days); Arizona (1,183 days) and New Jersey (1,162 days). Among 499 counties nationwide with sufficient data, those with the longest average time to foreclose in Q4 2018 were Marion County (Indianapolis) (2,521 days); York County, Pa. (2,432 days); Honolulu (2,152 days); Dauphin County, Pa. (2,054 days); Queens, N.Y. (2,046 days) and Denton County, Texas (1,961 days).