Foreclosure activity has reached its lowest point since 2005, falling 8% from the previous year, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. Foreclosure filings – which include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – were reported on 624,753 properties in 2018, down 78% from their 2010 peak of 2.9 million.
The report also revealed that foreclosure filings fell 2% in December from the previous month, down 19% from one year ago. This marked the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
“Plummeting foreclosure completions combined with consistently falling foreclosure timelines in 2018 provide evidence that most of the distress from the last housing crisis has now been cleaned up,” said ATTOM Chief Product Officer Todd Teta. “But there was also some evidence of distress gradually returning to the housing market in 2018, with foreclosure starts increasing from the previous year in more than one-third of all state and local housing markets.”
“Some of that distress was driven by natural disasters, most notably in Houston, where foreclosure starts increased 61%,” Teta continued. “But natural disasters do not explain the increase in markets such as Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee and Austin – all of which posted double-digit percentage increases in foreclosure starts in 2018.”
Despite the national trend, 18 states posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts in 2018, among them Minnesota (up 29%); Texas (up 15%); Michigan (up 15%); Florida (up 13%); Louisiana (up 5%); and Delaware (up 2%).
The report also indicated that bank repossessions were down 21% from the previous year to 230,305 properties, and that lenders started foreclosure proceedings on 369,170 properties in 2018, down 6% from 2017.
The states with the highest foreclosure rates in 2018 were New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Illinois and Connecticut.