For all the gloom and doom that is heard lately about the Houston economy, that city’s foreclosure numbers for 2015 don’t seem to suggest that the housing market is falling off a cliff. Data firm RealtyTrac just crunched foreclosure numbers for the country for 2015. Houston is a star performer on the resulting list.

  • Houston has the lowest foreclosure ranking out of the top 20 largest metros.
  • Month-over-month, the foreclosure rate dropped by an impressive 26.81 percent from December 2015.
  • Year-over-year, Houston’s foreclosure rate dropped a little bit - by 3.94 percent over January 2015.

For all the gloom and doom that is heard lately about the Houston economy, that city’s foreclosure numbers for 2015 don’t seem to suggest that the housing market is falling off a cliff.

Data firm RealtyTrac just crunched foreclosure numbers for the country for 2015. Houston is a star performer on the resulting list.

The Houston MSA– which consists of Houston, The Woodlands and Sugar Land– ranked 180th in the nation for foreclosures. RealtyTrac computes that number by dividing the total number of housing units in an area by the number of foreclosures.

That’s only for the biggest metros in the nation – those with a population of 200,000 or better.

Houston is the fifth most populous metro in the nation. And, it has the lowest foreclosure ranking out of the top 20 largest metros.

In January of 2016, Houston had 901 homes at some point in the foreclosure process.

To determine the ranking, the number of housing units in the metro is divided by the number of foreclosures. That calculation found that one out of every 2,622 homes in Houston was being foreclosed on.

Month-over-month, the foreclosure rate dropped by an impressive 26.81 percent. A large December drop in that stat was seen in a few of big metros, and it was not unusual to see the rate creep up in many places for the month.

Year-over-year, Houston’s foreclosure rate dropped a little bit – by 3.94 percent over January 2015.

Many factors can play into various foreclosures calculations. For example, some states have much longer foreclosure processes than others, depending on legal requirements and backlogs. Six states are still notching foreclosure machinations that take more than 1,000 days to complete.

“In 2015 we saw a return to normal, healthy foreclosure activity in many markets even as banks continued to clean up some of the last vestiges of distress left over from the last housing crisis,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, in a statement.

“The increase in bank repossessions that we saw for the year was evidence of this cleanup phase, which largely involves completing foreclosure on highly distressed, low value properties.”

Across the nation, a  total of 569,835 properties started the foreclosure process in 2015, down 11 percent from 2014 and down 73 percent from the peak of more than 2.1 million foreclosure starts in 2009, to a 10-year low.

By the end of last year, 0.82 percent of all U.S. housing units (one in every 122) had at least one foreclosure filing in 2015, the second consecutive year where the annual foreclosure rate has been below 1 percent of all U.S. housing units.

And in Houston, the foreclosure rate is a bright spot in what’s otherwise an economic dark cloud.

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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