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Foreclosures In February: Down Monthly, Up Annually

David Krechevsky
Mar 08, 2023
Foreclosure Notice new 030823

Overall activity fell 3% from January 2023; completions up 45% YOY

  • A total of 30,528 properties had foreclosure filings in February, down 3% from January but up 18% YOY.
  • February saw first monthly decline in 21 months.
  • Completed foreclosures fell 2% in February, but were up 45% from a year earlier.

Overall foreclosure activity declined in February after nearly two years of monthly increases, but the number of completed foreclosures is still significantly higher than a year earlier, according to a new report from ATTOM.

The curator of land, property, and real estate data released its February 2023 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report on Wednesday. It showed that, in February, there were 30,528 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — including default notices, scheduled auctions, or bank repossessions — down 3% from January. The total was up 18%, however, from a year earlier.

"Foreclosure activity finally started to stabilize in February after 21 straight months of increases," said ATTOM CEO Rob Barber. "The numbers don't yet show a clear trend toward fewer foreclosures, partly because February is a short month. But with historically high levels of home equity flowing from a decade of rising values, we may be seeing a growing number of delinquent mortgage payers with at least the option to sell before facing foreclosure."

Completed Foreclosures Up YOY

According to the report, lenders repossessed 3,831 properties through completed foreclosures (REOs) in February, down 2% from January but up 45% from a year earlier.

States with at least 100 or more REOs that saw the greatest annual increase in completed foreclosures in February included: New York (up 268%); Georgia (up 237%); California (up 132%); Texas (up 87%); and Virginia (up 73%).

The major metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with a population greater than 200,000 that saw the most REOs in February included: Chicago (193 REOs); New York (170); Detroit (112); Philadelphia (104); and St. Louis (97).

Lenders started the foreclosure process on 20,360 properties in February, down 2% from last month but up 23% from a year earlier.

States with the most foreclosure starts in February included: Texas (2,187 foreclosure starts); California (2,133); Florida (1,831); New York (1,318); and Illinois (1,170).

The 223 MSAs with a population of at least 200,000 that had the most foreclosure starts in February included: New York (1,554); Chicago (1,034); Los Angeles (710); Houston (699); and Philadelphia (565).

N.J. Has Highest Foreclosure Rate

Nationwide, the report said, one in every 4,574 housing units had a foreclosure filing in February. 

States with the highest foreclosure rates were New Jersey (one in every 2,271 housing units); Maryland (one in every 2,390); Illinois (one in every 2,443); Nevada (one in every 2,854); and Indiana (one in every 2,956).

Among the 223 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rates in February were Fayetteville, N.C. (one in every 1,627 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Atlantic City, N.J. (one in every 1,708); Florence, S.C. (one in every 1,833); Jacksonville, N.C. (one in every 1,934); and Cleveland (one in every 2,049).

Other than Cleveland, the metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million that had the worst foreclosure rates in February included: Chicago (one in every 2,300 housing units); Las Vegas (one in every 2,305); Riverside, Calif. (one in every 2,450); and Baltimore (one in every 2,510).

The ATTOM U.S. Foreclosure Market Report provides a count of the total number of properties with at least one foreclosure filing entered into the ATTOM Data Warehouse during the month and quarter. Some filings entered into the database during the quarter may have been recorded in the previous quarter. Data is collected from more than 3,000 counties nationwide, and those counties account for more than 99 percent of the U.S. population. 

ATTOM's report incorporates documents filed in all three phases of foreclosure: Default — Notice of Default (NOD) and Lis Pendens (LIS); Auction — Notice of Trustee Sale and Notice of Foreclosure Sale (NTS and NFS); and Real Estate Owned (REO) properties (that have been foreclosed on and repurchased by a bank).

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