US foreclosure activity eases as FHFA extends moratoriums

Foreclosures still remain elevated in certain vulnerable markets

US foreclosure activity eases as FHFA extends moratoriums

Foreclosure activity is set to slow down through the holiday as the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced an extension of its foreclosure and eviction ban through the end of January 2021.

ATTOM's latest report revealed that US foreclosure filings fell 14% month over month and 80% year over year in November to a total of 10,042 US properties with foreclosure filings (including default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions). Nationwide, one in every 13,581 housing units had a foreclosure filing.

"It's not unusual to see foreclosure activity slow down beginning in November and through the holiday season," said Rick Sharga, executive vice president at RealtyTrac, an ATTOM Data Solutions company. "Both foreclosure starts and repossessions were down about 80% on a year-over-year basis, but it might be worth noting that a few cities that may be vulnerable to the pandemic-driven flight from urban areas to the suburbs – like New York City, Chicago, and Miami – were among the markets with the highest levels of foreclosure actions."

Florida remained on top of the list of states with the highest foreclosure rates (one in every 7,109 housing units with a foreclosure filing). Illinois (one in every 7,285 housing units); Oklahoma (one in every 8,128 housing units); New Mexico (one in every 9,236 housing units); and Delaware (one in every 9,310 housing units) followed.

Foreclosure starts and repossessions were also down nationwide. Lenders started the foreclosure process on 5,256 properties in November, down 13% from October and down 79% from a year ago.

Metros countering the downward trend in foreclosure starts included New York, NY (454 foreclosure starts); St. Louis, Mo. (208 foreclosure starts); Chicago, Ill. (207 foreclosure starts); Miami, Fla. (151 foreclosure starts); and Los Angeles, Calif. (147 foreclosure starts).

Bank repossessions, on the other hand, saw a 22% month-over-month decline and were down 86% from November 2019. In total, lenders foreclosed (REO) 2,010 properties last month.

Among the metros, those with the greatest number of REOs filed in November, included Chicago, IL (114 REOs filed); Phoenix, AZ (93 REOs filed); Atlanta, GA (88 REOs filed); Birmingham, AL (60 REOs filed); and Miami, FL (58 REOs filed).

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