Foreclosure Activity at New High Since the Pandemic Began

Foreclosure Home For Sale Sign in Front of Large House

© Feverpitched - iStock/Getty Images Plus

Foreclosure starts and bank repossessions are at their highest numbers in the last two years. Most pandemic-initiated moratoriums have lifted by now and lenders are starting to resume foreclosures. Still, foreclosure activity remains well below historical levels.

The number of properties with a foreclosure filing during the first quarter of 2022 climbed 39% compared to the previous quarter. Foreclosure filings are up much higher—132%—compared to a year ago, according to ATTOM Data Solutions’ Q1 2022 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.

“Foreclosure activity has continued to gradually return to normal levels since the expiration of the government’s moratorium, and the CFPB [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s] enhanced mortgage servicing guidelines,” says Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence for ATTOM. “But even with the large year-over-year increase in foreclosure starts and bank repossessions, foreclosure activity is still only running at about 57% of where it was in Q1 2020, the last quarter before the government enacted consumer protection programs due to the pandemic.”

Foreclosure starts have increased in all 50 states. The states with the largest number of foreclosure starts in the first quarter included California, Florida, Texas, Illinois, and Ohio. Broken out by metro level, the greatest number of foreclosure starts last quarter were in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Philadelphia.

Nationwide, Sharga says it’s likely that foreclosure activity will continue to see significant month-over-month and year-over-year gains through the second quarter of 2022. “But [we] still won’t reach historically normal levels of foreclosures until the end of the year at the earliest, unless the U.S. economy takes a significant turn for the worse,” he notes.