ATTOM Data Solutions Finds Foreclosures Increase in February
By Jordan Grice
Foreclosure filings rose in February, breaking from a trend of month-over-month declines brought on by the ongoing moratorium.
According to a new report from ATTOM Data Solutions, foreclosure filings were up 16% month-over-month in February. There was a total of 11,281 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings last month. Despite the monthly uptick, the number is down 77% from a year prior.
"Extensions to the Federal Government's foreclosure moratorium and CARES Act mortgage forbearance program continue to keep foreclosure activity historically low," said Rick Sharga, executive vice president 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."
One in every 12,182 housing units nationally had a foreclosure filing last month. Utah had the highest foreclosure rate, with one in every 3,883 housing units having a foreclosure filing. Delaware was next in line with one in every 5,219 housing units, followed by Florida—one in every 6,232 housing units—which wrapped up the top three spots.
According to the report, 5,999 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in February 2021, which increased 15% from the previous. That number was also down 78% from the same period last 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 2021, showing an 8% increase from the start of 2021. The following states saw a decline in completed foreclosures from last month:
- Indiana: -75% in REOs
- Colorado: -75% in REOs
- South Dakota: -67% in REOs
- Utah: -67% in REOs
- Alabama: -56% in REOs