ATTOM: February Foreclosure Activity at Record Low

ATTOM Data Solutions, Irvine, Calif., reported 48,004 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions — in February, the lowest number of total foreclosure filings recorded it began tracking in April 2005.

The company’s monthly U.S. Foreclosure Market Report also noted lenders repossessed 10,469 U.S. properties through completed foreclosures in February, up 1 percent from last month but down 8 percent from last year, marking the second consecutive annual decline in completed foreclosures.

“Foreclosure activity across the United States hit new lows in February, yet another marker of the nation’s long housing boom,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. “However, as with just about anything connected to the housing market right now, the foreclosure situation is now totally in flux because of the ever-evolving coronavirus pandemic. Many lenders have suspended foreclosure proceedings, so the numbers will most likely continue to drop in the coming months. But after that, we may see an uptick in foreclosures as a result of dramatic economic impacts, such as more homeowners losing their jobs and falling behind on mortgage payments.”

Other report data:

–States that saw an annual decrease in REOs in February included Florida (down 47 percent); New Jersey (down 37 percent); New York (down 18 percent); Texas (down 16 percent); and Maryland (down 13 percent). Metros with the largest number of REOs included: Chicago (614 REOs); Riverside, Calif. (529 REOs); New York (446 REOs); Los Angeles (368 REOs); and Philadelphia (328 REOs).

–Nationwide, one in every 2,841 housing units had a foreclosure filing in February. States with the highest foreclosure rates were New Jersey (one in every 1,457 housing units); Illinois (one in every 1,507 housing units); Delaware (one in every 1,628 housing units); South Carolina (one in every 1,688 housing units); and Maryland (one in every 1,713 housing units).

–Foreclosure starts increased monthly in 20 states. Lenders started the foreclosure process on 27,058 U.S. properties in February, up 3 percent from last month but down 9 percent from a year ago — the 13th consecutive month showing an annual decline. States that saw double digit increases in foreclosure starts from last month included Nevada (up 63 percent); Oregon (up 49 percent); Washington (up 47 percent); Texas (up 28 percent); and Michigan (up 20 percent).