National News

Uptick in Foreclosures In February 2021, But Still Down Significantly From 2020

 ATTOM Data Solutions, licensor of the nation’s most comprehensive foreclosure data and parent company to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listings portal, recently released its February 2021 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows there were a total of 11,281 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions — up 16 percent from a month ago but down 77 percent from a year ago.

“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.”

Highest foreclosure rates in Utah, Delaware, and Florida
Nationwide one in every 12,182 housing units had a foreclosure filing in February 2021. States with the highest foreclosure rates were Utah (one in every 3,883 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Delaware (one in every 5,219 housing units); Florida (one in every 6,232 housing units); Illinois (one in every 6,336 housing units); and Louisiana (one in every 7,923 housing units).

Among the 220 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rates in February 2021 were Provo, UT (one in every 787 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Shreveport, LA (one in every 1,951 housing units); Lake Havasu, AZ (one in every 2,247 housing units); Cleveland, OH (one in every 3,943 housing units); and Florence, SC (one in every 3,980 housing units).

Those metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million, with the worst foreclosure rates in February 2021 including Cleveland, OH were: Jacksonville, FL (one in every 5,707 housing units); Riverside, CA (one in every 6,478 housing units); Birmingham, AL (one in every 6,532 housing units); and St. Louis, MO (one in every 6,651 housing units).

Foreclosure starts increase monthly in 29 states nationwide
Lenders started the foreclosure process on 5,999 U.S. properties in February 2021, up 15 percent from last month but down 78 percent from a year ago.

“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.”

States that had at least 100 foreclosure starts in February 2021 and saw the greatest monthly increase in foreclosure starts included: Utah (up 230 percent); North Carolina (up 73 percent); Michigan (up 60 percent); Georgia (up 58 percent); and Mississippi (up 54 percent).

In looking more granular, those counties that had the greatest number of foreclosure starts in February 2021 included: Los Angeles County, CA (234 foreclosure starts); Utah County, UT (224 foreclosure starts); Cook County, IL (154 foreclosure starts); Harris County, TX (97 foreclosure starts); and Riverside County, CA (74 foreclosure starts).

Foreclosure completion numbers increase 8 percent from last month
Lenders repossessed 1,545 U.S. properties through completed foreclosures (REOs) in February 2021, up 8 percent from last month but still down 85 percent from last year.

Counter to the national trend, those states that saw a decline in completed foreclosures from last month, included: Indiana (down 75 percent); Colorado (down 75 percent); South Dakota (down 67 percent); Utah (down 67 percent); and Alabama (down 56 percent).

Those major metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with a population greater than 1 million that saw the greatest number of REOs in February 2021 included: Chicago, IL (111 REOs); St. Louis, MO (54 REOs); New York, NY (36 REOs); Atlanta, GA (35 REOs); and Los Angeles, CA (33 REOs).

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