A total of 624,753 foreclosure filings were reported on residential properties last year, or 0.47 percent of all housing units, according to statistics from ATTOM Data Solutions. This represents an eight percent decline from 2017 and the lowest level recorded since 2005.
During 2018, lenders repossessed 230,305 properties through foreclosure, down 21 percent from 2017 to the lowest level since 2006, when this data was first tracked. Also last year, the foreclosure process began on 369,170 properties, down six percent from 2017 and also an all-time low since foreclosure start data began being tracked in 2006.
Last year ended with 52,069 properties with foreclosure filings in December, down two percent from November and down 19 percent from a year ago. December marked the sixth consecutive month with annualized declines in foreclosure activity.
“Plummeting foreclosure completions combined with consistently falling foreclosure timelines in 2018 provide evidence that most of the distress from the last housing crisis has now been cleaned up,” said Todd Teta, ATTOM Data Solution’s Chief Product Officer, who added the new statistics were not entirely copacetic. “But there was also some evidence of distress gradually returning to the housing market in 2018, with foreclosure starts increasing from the previous year in more than one-third of all state and local housing markets. Some of that distress was driven by natural disasters, most notably in Houston, where foreclosure starts increased 61 percent. But natural disasters do not explain the increase in markets such as Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee and Austin—all of which posted double-digit percentage increases in foreclosure starts in 2018.”