ATTOM, along with its subsidiary RealtyTrac, has released its latest Foreclosure Market Report for March and the first quarter of 2022 which has found that there was a total of 33,333 properties with foreclosure filings against them, up 29% from February (which saw 25,833 filings) and up 181% from a year ago. Foreclosure activity has now surpassed numbers seen before the pandemic took hold of the nation two years ago, and this marks the eleventh consecutive month of increasing foreclosure activity.
Rick Sharga, the EVP of Market Intelligence for ATTOM, expected numbers to rise this month after the market saw a lull in new foreclosure filings over the holiday season last year.
"Foreclosure activity has continued to gradually return to normal levels since the expiration of the government's moratorium, and the CFPB's enhanced mortgage servicing guidelines," said Sharga. "But even with the large year-over-year increase in foreclosure starts and bank repossessions, foreclosure activity is still only running at about 57% of where it was in Q1 2020, the last quarter before the government enacted consumer protection programs due to the pandemic."
Looking at the first quarter of 2022 as a whole, there were 78,271 properties with a foreclosure filing against them, up 29% from the previous quarter and 132% from a year earlier.
Foreclosure starts also increased in all 50 states, with a total of 50,759 properties starting the foreclosure process, a number which is up 67% from the previous quarter and 188% from a year earlier.
States that had the greatest number of foreclosures starts last quarter include: California (5,378 foreclosure starts); Florida (4.707 starts); Texas (4,649 starts); Illinois (3,534 starts); and Ohio (3,136 starts).
Nationally, one in every 1,795 houses had a foreclosure filing against it during the first quarter. States with the highest foreclosure rates were Illinois (one in every 791 housing units with a foreclosure filing); New Jersey (one in 792); Ohio (one in 991); South Carolina (one in 1,081); and Nevada (one in 1,090).
Lenders also repossessed more homes than the previous quarter. 11,824 properties were repossessed by lenders during the first quarter, up 41% from the previous quarter and 160% from a year ago.
Properties foreclosed in Q1 2022 had been in the foreclosure process an average of 917 days, down slightly from 941 days in the previous quarter and down 1 percent from 930 days in Q1 2021.
"March foreclosure activity was at its highest level in exactly two years—since March 2020, when there were almost 47,000 foreclosure filings across the country," Sharga added. "It's likely that we'll continue to see significant month-over-month and year-over-year growth through the second quarter of 2022, but still won't reach historically normal levels of foreclosures until the end of the year at the earliest, unless the U.S. economy takes a significant turn for the worse."
Other high-level takeaways from the report include:
- Nationwide in March 2022, one in every 4,215 properties had a foreclosure filing.
- States with the highest foreclosure rates in March 2022 were Illinois (one in every 1,825 housing units with a foreclosure filing); New Jersey (one in 2,022); South Carolina (one in 2,299); Delaware (one in 2,579); and Ohio (one in 2,604).
- 22,360 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in March 2022, up 35% from the previous month and up 248 percent from March 2021.
- Lenders completed the foreclosure process on 4,406 U.S. properties in March 2022, up 67 percent from the previous month and up 180 percent from March 2021.
Click here to view state level foreclosure data from ATTOM.