In February 2020, there were a total of 48,004 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — the lowest number of filings recorded since Attom Data Solutions began tracking the data in April 2005, according to Attom’s recently released February 2020 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.

Todd Teta

Todd Teta | Attom Data Solutions

Foreclosure activity across the United States hit new lows in February, yet another marker of the nation’s long housing boom,” Todd Teta, chief product officer with Attom Data Solutions, said in a statement. “However, as with just about anything connected to the housing market right now, the foreclosure situation is now totally in flux because of the ever-evolving coronavirus pandemic.”

The number of repossessed properties through foreclosures (REOs) in February increased slightly by 1 percent from January 2020, but decreased 8 percent year-over-year. Some of the major metropolitan statistical areas with a population greater than 200,000 that reported the greatest number of REOs included Chicago (614 REOs); Riverside, California (529 REOs); New York (446 REOs); Los Angeles (368 REOs); and Philadelphia (328 REOs).

Nationwide, New Jersey, Illinois and Delaware saw the highest foreclosure rates. New Jersey reported one in every 1,457 housing units had a foreclosure, Illinois reported one in every 1,507 housing units had a foreclosure and Delaware reported one in every 1,628 housing units had a foreclosure.

Metropolitan statistical areas of at least 200,000 that saw the highest foreclosure rates included Bakersfield, California (one in every 948 housing units); Atlantic City, New Jersey (one in every 1,032 housing units); Columbia, South Carolina (one in every 1,042 housing units); Rockford, Illinois (one in every 1,049 housing units); and Fayetteville, North Carolina (one in every 1,089 housing units).

Out of those larger metropolitan areas with a population of greater than one million, those with the worst foreclosure rates were Riverside, California (one in every 1,109 housing units); Chicago (one in every 1,314 housing units); Philadelphia (one in every 1,391 housing units); Cleveland (one in every 1,469 housing units); and Baltimore (one in every 1,605 housing units).

Nationally, foreclosure starts increased 3 percent from January to 27,058 properties in February, but this number also signaled a decrease by 9 percent from February 2019. Those states that witnessed significant increases in foreclosure starts included Nevada (rose by 63 percent), Oregon (rose by 49 percent), Washington (rose by 47 percent), Texas (rose by 28 percent), and Michigan (rose by 20 percent).

“Many lenders have suspended foreclosure proceedings [in the wake of COVID-19], so the numbers will most likely continue to drop in the coming months,” Teta said in a statement. “But after that, we may see an uptick in foreclosures as a result of dramatic economic impacts, such as more homeowners losing their jobs and falling behind on mortgage payments.”

Email Lillian Dickerson

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