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Foreclosure Starts Close to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Foreclosure bans ended a while ago, but starts are just now approaching pre-pandemic 2019 levels. But 2019 foreclosure starts were also historically low.

IRVINE, Calif. – In August, a total of 34,501 U.S. properties had foreclosure filings at various stages of the process – default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions. It’s a 14% month-to-month increase, and a 118% year-to-year increase, according to ATTOM’s August 2022 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.

Foreclosure starts – the first step of the process and one that doesn’t always lead to a final foreclosure – affected 23,952 U.S. properties in August, up 12% from July and up 187% year-to-year.

 “Two years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic – and after massive government intervention and mortgage industry efforts to prevent defaults – foreclosure starts have almost returned to 2019 levels,” says Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM. “August foreclosure starts were at 86% of the number of foreclosure starts in August 2019.”

However, Sharga also hesitates to call increased foreclosure starts a return to normal.

“It’s important to remember that even then, foreclosure activity was relatively low compared to historical averages,” he says.

States that had at least 100 foreclosure starts in August 2022 and saw the greatest monthly increases in foreclosure starts included:

  1. Oklahoma (up 80%)
  2. Tennessee (up 74%)
  3. Virginia (up 64%)
  4. Arkansas (up 53%)
  5. Washington (up 50%)

 Nationwide, one in every 4,072 housing units had a foreclosure filing in August, and Florida made the top five list here, even without a high ranking for foreclosure starts.

States with the highest foreclosure rates in August

  1. Illinois (one in every 1,926 housing units with a foreclosure filing)
  2. Delaware (one in every 2,387 housing units)
  3. South Carolina (one in every 2,417 housing units)
  4. New Jersey (one in every 2,441 housing units)
  5. Florida (one in every 2,950 housing units)

Top metropolitan area foreclosure rates (1 million+ population)

  1. Cleveland, Ohio (one in every 1,820 housing units)
  2. Chicago (one in every 1,877 housing units)
  3. Jacksonville, Florida (one in every 2,074 housing units)
  4. Riverside, CA (one in every 2,091 housing units)
  5. Orlando, Florida (one in every 2,445 housing units)

 Foreclosure completion numbers, where banks take possession at the end of the process, increased 28% in August and were up 59% year-to-year.

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