ATTOM: Foreclosure Activity Declines as Moratorium Hits One-Year Mark

ATTOM Data Solutions, Irvine, Calif., released its April U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, showing 11,810 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — down 1 percent from a month ago and down 17 percent from a year ago.

“Foreclosure activity continues to trend near historic lows as we enter the 14th month of the Federal Government’s foreclosure and eviction moratorium,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president at RealtyTrac, an ATTOM Data Solutions company. “Coupled with the CARES Act mortgage forbearance program, the government and mortgage servicing industry have worked together exceptionally well to prevent millions of unnecessary foreclosures. Because of these programs, and the nearly 90 percent success rate of borrowers resuming mortgage payments as they exit forbearance, a large influx of foreclosures when the programs expire seems very, very unlikely.”

The report said nationwide, one in every 11,636 housing units had a foreclosure filing in April. States with the highest foreclosure rates were Delaware (one in every 5,700 housing units); Nevada (one in every 5,738 housing units); Illinois (one in every 5,890 housing units); Florida (one in every 6,375 housing units); and New Jersey (one in every 6,390 housing units).

Among the 220 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rates in April 2021 were Macon, Ga. (one in every 2,334 housing units); Provo, Utah (one in every 3,295 housing units); Pensacola, Fla. (one in every 3,492 housing units); Cleveland, Ohio (one in every 3,550 housing units); and Beaumont, Texas (one in every 3,561 housing units).

The report said lenders started the foreclosure process on 6,355 U.S. properties in April, down 1 percent from last month and down 26 percent from a year ago.

“April 2020 was the first full month of the foreclosure moratorium, and foreclosure activity that month dropped by 75 percent compared to April 2019,” Sharga noted. “Given that, it’s a little surprising to see foreclosures drop by another 24 percent compared to last year, but virtually all of the foreclosure activity today is made up of vacant and abandoned properties, or commercial loans, which often don’t have the same protections as loans on residential properties.”

ATTOM said lenders repossessed 1,555 U.S. properties through completed foreclosures (REOs) in April, down 1 percent from last month and down 41 percent from last year.

On Friday, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported the delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties fell to 6.38 percent of all loans outstanding, seasonally adjusted, at the end of the first quarter.

The MBA 1st Quarter National Delinquency Survey said the delinquency rate fell by 35 basis points from the fourth quarter but rose by 202 basis points from a year ago.