ATTOM: Foreclosure Starts Fell 6% in 2018

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Lenders started the foreclosure process on 369,170 residential properties in 2018, down 6% from 2017 and down 83% from a peak of about 2.1 million in 2009, according to ATTOM Data Solutions’ year-end foreclosure report.

States that saw the biggest decreases in foreclosure starts in 2018 included Rhode Island (down 39%); Hawaii (down 26%); North Carolina (down 24%); Washington (down 24%); and Connecticut (down 23%).

Metropolitan areas that saw the biggest decreases in foreclosure starts included Salinas, Calif. (down 49%); San Luis Obispo, Calif. (down 44%); Tyler, Texas (down 42%); Durham, N.C. (down 40%); and Portland, Ore. (down 32%).

States that saw the biggest increases in foreclosure starts included Minnesota (up 29%); Texas (up 15%); Michigan (up 15%); Florida (up 13%); Louisiana (up 5%); and Delaware (up 2%).

Bank repossessions also decreased year-over-year in 2018. Lenders repossessed 230,305 properties through foreclosure (REO), down 21% from 2017 and down 78% from a peak of about 1 million in 2010.

ATTOM notes that while completed foreclosures (REOs) are on the decline, California and Florida combined have totaled nearly 1.5 million over the last 10 years.

Other states with the highest number of REOs for 2018 include Michigan (327,783), Texas (313,930), Georgia (299,394) and Illinois (303,404).

Counter to the national trend, five states posted a year-over-year increase in REOs, including New Mexico (up 20%); North Dakota (up 15%); Alaska (up 8%); Connecticut (up 5%); and Maine (up 5%).

Metropolitan areas that saw year-over-year increases in REOs included Flint, Michigan (up 161%), Beaumont, Texas (up 63%), Albuquerque, N.M. (up 27%), Greeley, Colo. (up 24%) and Houston, Texas (up 17%).

Foreclosure filings – which includes all foreclosure actions including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – totaled 624,753 for 2018, down 8% from 2017 and down 78% from a peak of nearly 2.9 million in 2010 to the lowest level since 2005.

Those 624,753 properties represented 0.47% of all U.S. housing units, down from 0.51% in 2017 and down from a peak of 2.23% in 2010 to the lowest level since 2005.

As foreclosure filings have fallen, so, too, have foreclosure timelines. The report shows that the average time to foreclose decreased to 811 days in the fourth quarter, down 21% compared with a year earlier. 

However, that’s a 14% jump compared with the third quarter.

States with the longest average foreclosure timelines in the fourth quarter were Hawaii (1,429 days); Florida (1,311 days); Indiana (1,214 days); Arizona (1,183 days) and New Jersey (1,162 days).

Among 499 counties nationwide with sufficient data, those with the longest average time to foreclose were Marion County (Indianapolis), Ind. (2,521 days); York County, Pa. (2,432 days); Honolulu County, Hawaii (2,152 days); Dauphin County, Penn. (2,054 days); Queens County, N.Y. (2,046 days) and Denton County, Texas (1,961 days).

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