The Foreclosure Rate Declines By 19%

Data from ATTOM Data Solutions shows shows a total of 189,870 U.S. properties with a foreclosure filing during the first quarter of 2018, up 4 percent from the previous quarter but still down 19 percent from a year ago and 32 percent below the pre-recession average of 278,912 per quarter from Q1 2006 to Q3 2007 — the sixth consecutive quarter where U.S. foreclosure activity has been below its pre-recession quarterly average.

The report also shows a total of 74,341 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings in March 2018, up 21 percent from an all-time low in the previous month but still down 11 percent from a year ago — the 30th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in U.S. foreclosure activity.

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An analysis of foreclosure activity by loan origination year shows that 45 percent of all properties in foreclosure as of the end of the first quarter were tied to loans originated between 2004 and 2008, down from 50 percent as of the end of Q4 2017 and down from 51 percent as of the end of Q1 2017.

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“Less than half of all active foreclosures are now tied to loans originated during the last housing bubble, one of several data milestones in this report showing that the U.S. housing market has mostly cleared out the backlog of bad loans that triggered the housing and financial crisis nearly a decade ago,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “Meanwhile we are beginning to see early signs that some post-recession loan vintages are defaulting at a slightly elevated rate, a sign that some loosening of lending standards has occurred in recent years. Consequently, foreclosure starts are trending higher compared to a year ago in an increasing number of local markets — some of which are a bit surprising given the overall strength of housing in those markets.”

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A total of 92,703 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in Q1 2018, up 8 percent from the previous quarter but still down 10 percent from a year ago — the 11th consecutive quarter with a year-over-year decrease in U.S. foreclosure starts.

Counter to the national trend, 82 of 219 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report (37 percent) posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts in the first quarter, up from 20 percent of markets posting year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts in Q1 2017.

Twenty-three of 53 metropolitan statistical areas with at least 1 million people (43 percent) posted a year-over-year increase in foreclosure starts in the first quarter, led by Indianapolis, Indiana.

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