Foreclosures Fall Below Pre-recession Levels By Aly Yale

Foreclosure activity is now below pre-recession levels, according to the Q1 and March 2017 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released by ATTOM Data Solutions on Thursday. Nearly half of all U.S. metro markets are also below their pre-recession points.

According to the report, there were 234,508 foreclosure filings across the nation in the first quarter of 2017. That marks an 11-percent dip from Q4 2016, a 19-percent one from one year ago, and a 16-percent drop from the pre-recession average of 278,912. U.S. foreclosure activity is now at its lowest point since Q3 2006.

“U.S. foreclosure activity, on a quarterly basis, first dipped below pre-recession averages in the fourth quarter of last year, and this report shows that trend continuing for the second consecutive quarter,” said Daren Blomquist, Senior Vice President with ATTOM Data Solutions. “The number of local markets dropping below pre-recession levels continues to grow, up from 78 a year ago to 102 in this report.”

Drilling deeper, 102 out of 216 metro areas saw pre-recession era foreclosure levels in the first quarter of 2017. Foreclosure activity in Dallas dropped 73 percent below pre-recession average; Atlanta, 67 percent; Houston, 52 percent; and Los Angeles (46 percent.) San Francisco, Phoenix, Detroit, and Seattle also saw Q1 foreclosures well below their pre-recession points.

According to Matthew Watercutter, Senior Regional Vice President and Broker of Record at HER Realtors in Ohio, the low rates of foreclosure are likely tied to unemployment rates.

“The reduced number of foreclosure properties is consistent with lower unemployment rates and is contributing to the lack of inventory available to consumers, “Watercutter said. “That low inventory, coupled with increased demand, is causing an increase in housing costs, a reduction in days on market, and causing frustration among homebuyers wanting to purchase.”

But the report wasn’t all good news. Despite foreclosures being down nationwide, there are still a large number of markets seeing foreclosure activity above their pre-recession levels. A total of 114 out of 216 markets—or 53 percent—fall into this category.

Some of the larger markets where foreclosures were above pre-recession points included: Philadelphia, 97 percent about; New York, 80 percent; Washington, D.C., 64 percent; Boston, 26 percent; and Chicago, 9 percent.

Foreclosure rates were highest in New Jersey, Maryland, and Nevada. In New Jersey, one in every 497 households had a foreclosure filing.

Overall, foreclosure filings were also up slightly month-over-month, rising 1 percent over February, though they were down 24 percent over March 2016. This is the 18th month in a row foreclosure activity has dipped.

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