Across the country, just 11,281 residential properties were in foreclosure in February, according to property data researchers at ATTOM Data Solutions, who just released the February 2021 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. The number is up 16% from a month ago but down 77% from last year.
"Extensions to the Federal Government’s foreclosure moratorium and CARES Act mortgage forbearance program continue to keep foreclosure activity historically low,” said Rick Sharga, EVP of RealtyTrac, an ATTOM Data Solutions company. “These government actions, and the efforts of lenders and mortgage servicing companies, have helped millions of homeowners avoid foreclosure during a year-long global pandemic and a recession that resulted in 22 million lost jobs."
The numbers show that one in every 12,182 U.S. housing units had a foreclosure filing in February 2021. Utah (one in 3883), Delaware (one in 5219), Florida (one in 6,232), Illinois (one in 6336), and Louisiana (one in every 7,923 housing units) topped the list of states with the highest foreclosure rates.
Foreclosure starts increased in 29 states in February. That's up 15% from last month but down 78% from the previous year.
"The government’s moratorium bans foreclosures on government-backed loans for homeowners, and borrowers in the forbearance program are also protected from foreclosure actions,” Sharga noted. “But loans on commercial properties, investment properties, and properties that are vacant and abandoned do not always have the same protections. This could be why we’re seeing a slight increase in foreclosure starts despite the government programs."
Lenders repossessed 1,545 U.S. properties through completed foreclosures (REOs) in February, an 8% increase from last month but still down 85% from last year.
Counter to the national trend, those states that saw a decline in completed foreclosures from last month, included Indiana, Colorado, South Dakota, Utah, and Alabama.
For its monthly report, which can be found in full at attom.com, ATTOM collects data from more than 3,000 counties nationwide, and those counties account for more than 99% of the U.S. population.