U.S. foreclosures hit a 12-year low in 2017

Filings were submitted on 676,535 U.S. properties — a 27 percent year-over-year drop

Attom Data Solutions today released its Year-End Foreclosure Market Report, which revealed that foreclosure filings were submitted on 676,535 U.S. properties — a 27 percent year-over-year decline and the lowest level since 2005.

The filings, which included default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, accounted for 0.51 percent of all housing units, down 0.19 percentage points from 2016 (0.70). It’s also the lowest percentage of filings seen since peaking in 2010 (2.23 percent).

2017 ended with 64,651 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings, a 1 percent month-over-month increase and a 25 percent year-over-year decrease from 2016 — 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,” said Attom Data Solutions senior vice president Daren Blomquist in a statement.

“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 DC.”

Foreclosures by the numbers

  • Nationally, foreclosure starts, where lenders began the foreclosure process, decreased 20 percent year-over-year to 383,701 — an all-time low. These starts only increased year-over-year in the District of Columbia (+54 percent) and five states: Illinois (+2 percent); Oklahoma (+23 percent); Louisiana (+2 percent); West Virginia (+32 percent); and Vermont (+27 percent).
  • Nationally, foreclosure auctions, where properties were scheduled for public foreclosure auction, decreased 27 percent year-over-year to 318,165, an all-time low. These auctions only increased in the District of Columbia and seven states, including New York (+ 9 percent); Oklahoma (+4 percent); Connecticut (+7 percent); and Maine (+2 percent).
  • Nationally, the number of bank repossessions (REOs) decreased 23 percent year-over-year to 291,579, an 11-year low. REOs increased in the District of Columbia (+10 percent) and seven states, including New Jersey (+19 percent); Delaware (+16 percent); Montana (+12 percent); and Wyoming (+10 percent).
  • Here are the states that had the highest foreclosure rates in 2017:
    • New Jersey (1.61 percent)
    • Delaware (1.13 percent)
    • Maryland (0.95 percent)
    • Illinois (0.86 percent)
    • Connecticut (0.78 percent)
    • Florida (0.72 percent)
    • South Carolina (0.70 percent)
    • Ohio (0.70 percent)
    • Nevada (0.67 percent)
    • New Mexico (0.63 percent)
  • These Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) had the highest foreclosure rates in 2017:
    • Atlantic City, New Jersey (2.72 percent)
    • Trenton, New Jersey (1.68 percent)
    • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1.26 percent)
    • Fayetteville, North Carolina (1.17 percent)
    • Rockford, Illinois (1.14 percent)
    • Cleveland, Ohio (1.06 percent)
    • Columbia, South Carolina (1.05 percent)
    • Baltimore, Maryland (1.05 percent)
    • Chicago, Illinois (1.04 percent)
    • Albuquerque, New Mexico (0.99 percent)
  • Nationally, in Q4 2017 the average time to foreclose was 1,027 days, a 28 percent year-over-year increase. Indiana (2,370 days); Nevada (1,933 days); Florida (1,493 days); New Jersey (1,298 days) and Georgia (1,263 days) had the longest foreclosure completion times on a state level.
  • Nationally, 50 percent of all loans actively in foreclosure as of the end of 2017 were originated between 2004 and 2008 — down 5 percent year-over-year. District of Columbia (74 percent), Hawaii (67 percent), New Jersey (58 percent), Massachusetts (58 percent), Florida (55 percent) and Nevada (55 percent) had the highest legacy foreclosure rates.

About the study

The Attom Data Solutions Year-End U.S. Foreclosure Market Report provides a count of the total number of properties with at least one foreclosure filing entered into the Attom Data Warehouse during the year. Some foreclosure filings entered into the database during the year may have been recorded in the previous year. Data is collected from more than 2,500 counties nationwide, and those counties account for more than 90 percent of the U.S. population. Attom’s report incorporates documents filed in all three phases of foreclosure: DefaultNotice of Default (NOD) and Lis Pendens (LIS); Auction — Notice of Trustee Sale and Notice of Foreclosure Sale (NTS and NFS); and Real Estate Owned, or REO properties (that have been foreclosed on and repurchased by a bank).

Email Marian McPherson.