Foreclosure Rate the Lowest in a Decade

February 23, 2017 by Nema Daghbandan, Esq.

The rate of foreclosures fell substantially in 2016, hitting a ten-year, nationwide-low based on the annual Foreclosure Market Report circulated by property database ATTOM Data Solutions. ATTOM’s annual foreclosure study is compiled from data garnered through publicly available financial documentation and is a detailed analysis of all properties that were in some state of the foreclosure process over the past year.

The collective total of foreclosure applications, default notifications, auctioned properties and creditor repossessions amounted to 933,045 instances occurring in 2016. This figure represents a 14% drop over last year and the lowest since 2006’s 717,522 filings.

The report further revealed that 0.7 percent of all U.S. homes had at least a single foreclosure proceeding in 2016. This was also the lowest on record since 2006, when the level was at .58 percent.

The ATTOM statistics indicate filings to initiate foreclosure fell 17% from December 2015 to December 2016, and that the 85,919 December foreclosure filings were a 1 percent drop from the previous month. These figures represent a fifteen-month streak in which foreclosure activity decreased month over month from the last year.

The aggregate foreclosure rate for the entire United States remained within what market experts consider “historically normal ranges” between 2013 and 2016, despite the fact that financial institutions were attempting to resolve foreclosures remaining from the 2008 housing meltdown—especially during the last quarter of the year.

The foreclosure proceedings closed in the fourth quarter had been outstanding for an average of 803 days, which is a significant 29% jump from the number of foreclosures completed in the third quarter and 27% over the preceding year. The 803-day so-called “legacy” foreclosure timeline for 2016 is the longest since ATTOM began analyzing data in the first quarter of 2007.

According to Daren Blomquist, ATTOM Data Solutions senior vice president, this delay can be attributed to the banks’ efforts to settle a substantial amount of legacy foreclosures remaining on their ledgers during the year-end quarter.

The ATTOM data also indicates that over 50% of all remaining foreclosures in the United States are associated with loans that were issued between 2004 and 2008, during the height of the housing boom. The rate of these legacy foreclosure proceedings changed significantly across various geographical markets. While foreclosure proceedings continued to decline regarding the nationwide average, twelve states experienced a substantial increase. For example, Delaware saw a 45% increase in foreclosure activity, Rhode Island a 29% rise, Massachusetts and Connecticut were both up by 21%, and Hawaii rose by 20 percent.