Foreclosure Filings Went Up Last Month, But…

April 11, 2019

Foreclosures are still disappearing from most markets. In March, foreclosure filings posted a 7 percent increase from the month prior, but economists say that percentage needs to be put in perspective: Activity is still down from prerecession levels. Foreclosure filings are also down 21 percent from a year ago, according to a new report from ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data firm. CoreLogic, another real estate research company, recently showed foreclosures at their lowest rate in 19 years.

“While some markets saw a slight uptick in foreclosure filings, the majority of the major markets are well below prerecession levels” in filings, says Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. “While we did see a slight increase in U.S. foreclosure starts from last quarter (up 7 percent), bank repossessions reached an all-time low in the first quarter of 2019, showing continuing signs of a strong housing market.”

The report showed 58,550 U.S. properties had a foreclosure filing in March. Foreclosure filings for the first quarter of 2019 are at the lowest level since the first quarter of 2008.

About 132 out of 220 markets—or 60 percent—with populations greater than 200,000 in the first quarter posted foreclosure activity below prerecession averages, including San Jose (79 percent below); Memphis (77 percent below); Dallas-Fort Worth (77 percent below); Las Vegas (74 percent below); and Phoenix (68 percent below). Other major markets seeing foreclosure activity drop below prerecession averages included San Francisco; Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.; Chicago; Detroit; and Seattle.

Counter to the national trend, there are a handful of markets above prerecession levels, such as Baltimore (189 percent higher); Washington, D.C. (26 percent higher); Philadelphia (20 percent higher); New York (13 percent higher); and Hartford, Conn. (4 percent higher).

Foreclosure timelines are lengthening. Properties foreclosed in the first quarter of this year had been in the foreclosure process an average of 835 days—up 5 percent from an average of 791 days a year prior.