Housing

Foreclosures Surge Again

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The last time foreclosures were brutal was during the housing crisis, particularly in 2007 and 2008. Subprime mortgages drove default in some markets to double digits, particularly in Nevada, California, and Florida. In the last few decades, the national figure has fallen to a fraction of a percent. The number is starting to rise again.

ATTOM, a real estate market analytics data company, publishes a foreclosure study several times a year. The most recent is titled “U.S. Foreclosure Activity Shows Continued Rise In Third Quarter, Approaching Levels Seen Before Pandemic.” Foreclosure filings (default notices, scheduled auctions, or bank repossessions) rose 34% from a year ago to 124,539 U.S. properties. “Foreclosures are on the rise again this quarter, as indicated by our latest foreclosure numbers,” according to Rob Barber, the CEO of ATTOM.

Foreclosure start rates vary significantly around the country. Nationally, foreclosure start filings were made on one out of 1,121 homes. This is based on an analysis of 223 metro areas. Broken out by state, New Jersey’s rate was one in every 595 housing units. For South Carolina, it was one in every 730. For Delaware, it was one in every 739, For Nevada, it was one in every 763, and Maryland, it was one in every 780.

The numbers are even worse than those in some cities. In Houston, TX, it was one in every 371 housing units. For Atlantic City, NJ, the figure was one in every 453. For Cleveland, OH, it was one in every 459. For Bakersfield, CA, it was one in every 465, and for Columbia, SC, it was one in every 503.

Notably, in Atlantic City and Cleveland, the pattern of poor cities and housing defaults may hold true. However, the trend is broken because Houston is on the list.

ATTOM says these numbers may get worse, because of the high interest rates on variable-rate mortgages. And, as many economists say, there may be a recession. (These are 30 American cities with the most foreclosures.)

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