Foreclosure activity in the U.S. has increased in recent months amid the uncertain economic environment, according to new data from ATTOM Data Solutions.
There were approximately 92,634 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings from July through September, including default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions, according to ATTOM’s Foreclosure Market Report. That’s up 3% from the previous three months and up more than 100% from a year ago, according to the data.
Lenders started the foreclosure process on more than 67,200 U.S. properties throughout the three months, up 1% from the previous quarter and up 167% from a year ago, which is nearly reaching pre-pandemic levels, according to ATTOM.
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The foreclosure process begins when borrowers fail to make their mortgage payments and the lender decides to foreclose. However, most lenders won’t start such proceedings until a borrower is between three and six months behind on their payments, according to the National Bankruptcy Forum.
The entire process of foreclosing a home can take months.
One in every 1,517 properties nationwide had a foreclosure filing in the third quarter. However, the highest foreclosure rates throughout the three-month period were in Illinois, Delaware and New Jersey, according to the data.
In Illinois, one in every 694 housing units had a foreclosure filing. In Delaware, one in every 825 housing units did. One in every 855 housing units in New Jersey had a foreclosure filing. Meanwhile, in South Carolina and Ohio, one in every 971 and one in every 1,027 housing units did, respectively.
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Over the three-month period, lenders ended up repossessing 10,515 U.S. properties through real estate-owned (REO) foreclosure, meaning the property undergoes foreclosure but fails to sell at auction and becomes owned by a bank or lender. That figure is up 18% from the previous quarter and up 39% from a year ago, according to the data.
Illinois, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio had the highest number of completed REO foreclosures over the three months, according to the data.
Still, “very few of the properties entering the foreclosure process have reverted to the lender at the end of the foreclosure,” Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence for ATTOM, said in a statement.
Sharga noted that lenders repossessed nearly three times more homes in the second quarter of 2019 than in the second quarter of 2022.
“We believe that this may be an indication that borrowers are leveraging their equity and selling their homes rather than risking the loss of their equity in a foreclosure auction,” Sharga said.
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