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Foreclosure activity at pre-recession levels in many metros

Foreclosure activity is below pre-recession levels in 60 percent of U.S. markets, with total foreclosure activity at the lowest level since 2008, according to Attom Data Solutions.

ForeclosureThe California data firm’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for the first quarter of 2019 reported 161,875 properties with a foreclosure filing during the year’s first three months, a 23 percent decrease from the preceding quarter and a 15 percent drop from the first quarter of 2018.

The report also detailed findings for March, showing 58,550 foreclosure filings during the month. That’s up 7 percent from February, but down 21 percent from March 2018, the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year foreclosure activity decline.

Of markets with populations over 200,000, 132 saw foreclosure activity below pre-recession averages. Some saw foreclosure volume markedly below the pre-recession water line, like San Jose (79 percent below), Memphis (77 percent), and Dallas-Fort Worth (77 percent). Metros lagging behind included Baltimore (189 percent above pre-recession level), Washington, D.C., (26 percent), and Philadelphia (20 percent). Atlantic City, New Jersey, had the highest foreclosure rate in the country, with one in every 177 houses having a foreclosure filing.

“While some markets saw a slight uptick in foreclosure filings, that is above pre-recession levels, the majority of the major markets are well below pre-recession levels,” said Todd Teta, ATTOM’s chief product officer. “While we did see a slight increase in U.S. foreclosure starts from last quarter, bank repossessions reached an all-time low in the first quarter of 2019, showing continuing signs of a strong housing market.”

Foreclosure starts were indeed up, with lenders beginning the process on 91,397 properties. That’s up 7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2018, but down 3 percent from the first quarter of last year, marking 15 consecutive quarters of decreasing foreclosure starts year-over-year.

On the other hand, lenders repossessed 35,787 properties in the first quarter of 2019, down 21 percent from the prior quarter and 45 percent from the same quarter last year, the 14th consecutive quarter of decline.


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