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ATTOM: Foreclosure Activity Hit All-Time Low In 2021

David Krechevsky
Jan 14, 2022

Foreclosure starts and completions hit record lows nationwide.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • ATTOM’s Year-End 2021 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report noted that the 151,153 properties with foreclosure filings in 2021 represented just 0.11% of all U.S. housing units, down from 0.16% in 2020 and down from a peak of 2.23 % in 2010.

Foreclosure filings — including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions — were reported on 151,153 U.S. properties in 2021, down 29 percent from 2020 and down 95 percent from a peak of nearly 2.9 million in 2010, according to a new report from ATTOM, parent of RealtyTrac.

The total filings reported was the lowest level since tracking began in 2005, ATTOM said.

ATTOM’s Year-End 2021 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report noted that the 151,153 properties with foreclosure filings in 2021 represented just 0.11% of all U.S. housing units, down from 0.16% in 2020 and down from a peak of 2.23 % in 2010.

"The COVID-19 foreclosure tsunami that some people had anticipated is clearly not happening," said Rick Sharga, executive vice president at RealtyTrac. "Government and mortgage industry efforts have prevented millions of unnecessary foreclosures, and while it's likely that we'll see a slight increase in the first quarter (of 2022), we probably won't see foreclosure activity back to normal levels before the end of 2022."

ATTOM's year-end foreclosure report provides a count of properties with a foreclosure filings during the year based on publicly recorded and published foreclosure filings collected in more than 3,000 counties nationwide. Those counties account for more than 99% of the U.S. population.

The report also includes new data for December 2021, showing there were 17,971 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings, down 8% from the previous month but up 65% from a year ago.

ATTOM said lenders repossessed 25,662 properties through foreclosure (REO) in 2021, down 49% from 2020 and down 98% from a peak of 1,050,500 in 2010, to the lowest level as far back as data is available — 2006.

"We believe that repossessions will continue to be lower than normal throughout 2022," Sharga noted. "Homeowners have a record amount of equity — over $23 trillion — and over 87% of homeowners in foreclosure have positive equity. This means that most borrowers will have an opportunity to sell their house at a profit rather than lose everything to a foreclosure auction."

States that saw the greatest number of REOs in 2021 included Illinois (3,472 REOs); Florida (2,287 REOs); California (1,839 REOs); Pennsylvania (1,293 REOs), and Texas (1,236 REOs).

Lenders started the foreclosure process on 92,346 U.S. properties in 2021, down 30% from 2020 and down 96% from a peak of 2,139,005 in 2009, to a new all-time low going back as far as foreclosure starts data is available — 2006.

States that saw the greatest decline in foreclosure starts from last year included Maryland (down 81 percent); Oklahoma (down 70%); Idaho (down 64%); Nebraska (down 63%), and Connecticut (down 60%).

"The government's foreclosure moratorium, the mortgage forbearance program, and the mortgage servicing guidelines enacted by the CFPB in August have kept foreclosure starts artificially low over the past year," Sharga added. "While the recovering economy should prevent a huge increase in defaults, we should see a gradual increase in foreclosure activity as these programs expire, and servicers exhaust all loan modification options for delinquent borrowers."

Counter to the national trend, 4 states saw an annual increase in foreclosure starts. They included Nevada (up 85%), North Dakota (up 71%), Vermont (up 36%), and South Dakota (up 20%).

Here are some key highlights of ATTOM’s fourth-quarter 2021 report:

  • There were a total of 56,174 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings in Q4 2021, up 23% from the previous quarter and up 82% from a year ago.
  • Nationwide in Q4 2021, one in every 2,446 properties had a foreclosure filing.
  • States with the highest foreclosure rates in Q4 2021 were Illinois (one in every 922 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Florida (one in every 1,170 housing units); New Jersey (one in every 1,288 housing units); Nevada (one in every 1,308 housing units); and Ohio (one in every 1,439 housing units).

Here are some key highlights Foreclosure Activity from December 2021:

  • Nationwide, one in every 7,647 properties had a foreclosure filing.
  • States with the highest foreclosure rates in December 2021 were Nevada (one in every 3,073 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Florida (one in every 3,813 housing units); Illinois (one in every 3,818 housing units); Delaware (one in every 3,834 housing units); and New Jersey (one in every 3,901 housing units).
  • 9,165 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in December 2021, down 12% from the previous month but up 55% from a year ago.

To read the full report, visit www.attomdata.com.

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