Foreclosure Filings Fell 27% in 2017 to Reach Lowest Level Since 2005

The total number of foreclosure filings – including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – on U.S. residential properties decreased 27% in 2017 compared with 2016, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

A little over 676,000 U.S. properties saw foreclosure filings – down 76% from a peak of nearly 2.9 million in 2010 to reach the lowest level since 2005.

That’s about 0.51% of all U.S. housing units, down from 0.7% in 2016 and down from a peak of 2.23% in 2010.

There were about 383,701 foreclosure starts on U.S. residential properties in 2017, down 20% compared with 2016 and down 82% from a peak of more than 2.1 million in 2009.

Counter to the national trend, the District of Columbia and five states posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts in 2017, including Illinois (up 2%); Oklahoma (up 23%); Louisiana (up 2%); D.C. (up 54%); West Virginia (up 32%); and Vermont (up 27%).

As is to be expected, there were some “pockets” of increased foreclosure activity, particularly in New York, which saw foreclosure auctions reach an 11-year high in 2017, counter to a 11-year low nationwide.

A total of 318,165 U.S. properties were scheduled for public foreclosure auction (the same as a foreclosure start in some states) in 2017, down 27% from 2016 and down from a peak of more than 1.6 million in 2010.

Looking just at December 2017, there were 64,651 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings during the month – an increase of 1% compared with November but a decrease of 25% compared with December 2016.

It was the 27th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity.

“Thanks to a housing boom driven primarily by a scarcity of supply, which has helped to limit home purchases to the most highly qualified – and low-risk – borrowers, the U.S. housing market has the luxury of playing a version of foreclosure limbo in which it searches for how low foreclosures can go,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

“There are a few notable local market exceptions playing a different version of foreclosure limbo in which a backlog of legacy foreclosure activity left over from the last housing crisis is still winding its way through a labyrinthine foreclosure process, resulting in incongruous jumps in various stages of foreclosure activity in markets such as New York, New Jersey and D.C.”

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