A total of 11,673 U.S. properties endured foreclosure filings — including default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions — in October, a 20 percent increase from September, but still down 79 percent from a year ago, according to a report released Tuesday by Attom Data Solutions.
Although there are various foreclosure moratoria currently in place across the country in response to the coronavirus pandemic, interpretations of these and eviction bans continue to vary from locality to locality and from one court to another. Still, as Rick Sharga, executive vice president of RealtyTrac, pointed out, some foreclosure filings may have already been in motion prior to the pandemic.
“It’s a little surprising to see foreclosure activity increasing in spite of the various foreclosure moratoria that are in place,” Sharga said in a statement. “It’s likely that many of these properties were already in the early stages of default prior to the pandemic, or are vacant and abandoned, which makes them candidates for expedited foreclosure actions.”
Nationwide, one in every 11,683 housing units had a foreclosure filing in October 2020. States with the highest foreclosure rates included South Carolina (one in every 6,133 housing units had a foreclosure filing), Nebraska (one in every 6,246 housing units), Alabama (one in every 6,660 housing units), Louisiana (one in every 7,078 housing units), and Florida (one in every 7,208 housing units).
Out of the 220 metro areas with a population of at least 200,000, metros with the highest foreclosure rates were Peoria, Illinois (one in every 1,543 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Champaign, Illinois (one in every 1,674 housing units); Beaumont, Texas (one in every 1,880 housing units); Birmingham, Alabama (one in every 1,993 housing units); and Houma, Louisiana (one in every 2,964 housing units).
Foreclosure starts also rose in October, and were up by 21 percent from September, but down by 79 percent from the year before. Although most states posted foreclosure starts that were down from the previous year, some states like Idaho (up 109 percent) and Nebraska (up 56 percent) saw an annual increase in foreclosure starts. States that saw the greatest monthly increases in foreclosure starts included North Carolina (up 294 percent), Ohio (up 74 percent) Illinois (up 30 percent), New York (up 24 percent), and South Carolina (up 18 percent).
At the metro level, metros with a population of greater than 1 million that saw the highest number of foreclosure starts were all in cities hard hit by the pandemic, including New York City (485 foreclosure starts); Chicago (240 foreclosure starts); Los Angeles (196 foreclosure starts); Miami (151 foreclosure starts); and Houston (143 foreclosure starts).
“It’s probably not a surprise that almost all of the metro areas where foreclosure activity increased on a month-over-month basis are also places where unemployment rates are higher than the national average, and in many cases have been hot spots of COVID-19 infections,” Sharga said in a statement. “Still, it’s important to keep the numbers in context – even with these increases, overall foreclosure actions are still below last year’s levels by about 80 percent.”
Bank repossessions (REOs) were also up in October, by 28 percent from September, but down by 81 percent from October 2019. States with the greatest number of REOs included Alabama (268 REOs filed), Florida (261 REOs filed), California (194 REOs filed), Texas (186 REOs filed), and Pennsylvania (145 REOs filed).