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Foreclosures across the U.S. are on the rise and nearing pre-pandemic levels, according to real estate data firm ATTOM.

ATTOM’s midyear foreclosure activity report found that foreclosure activity has been gradually increasing over the last few quarters as COVID-related policies have ended.

Across the U.S., 0.13% of all housing units foreclosed in the first half of 2023. Foreclosures are up 13% from the same period in 2022 and up 185% from the same period two years ago.

“Similar to the first half of 2022, foreclosures activity across the United States maintained its upward trajectory, gradually approaching pre-pandemic levels in the first half of 2023,” Rob Barber, CEO of ATTOM, said in a statement.

Foreclosure Trend Could Continue but Remains Below Pre-Recession Levels

One of the reasons for the rise in foreclosures is that housing relief measures put in place during 2020 to assist homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages ended in May.

While foreclosures in the second quarter of 2023 are below pre-2008 recession levels in 78% of major markets, there’s been a notable uptick in the last six months. A total of 97,608 properties filed for foreclosure during the second quarter of 2023, far below pre-Great Recession quarter averages of 278,912.

Still, the rise in foreclosures could continue, said Barber. Properties that have started the foreclosure process were up 15% from the first half of 2021 and up 36% from the first half of 2020.

“Although overall foreclosure activity remains below historical norms, the notable surge in foreclosure starts indicates that we may continue to see a rise in foreclosure activity in the coming years,” Barber said.

Lenders foreclosed on a total of 22,672 properties in the first half of 2023, which was up 9% from the first half of 2022 and 133% from the first half of 2021, but down 40% from the first half of 2020.

States With Largest Foreclosures in First Half of 2023

So, which states saw the greatest increase in foreclosure activity in the first half of the year when compared to year-over-year numbers? That would be Maryland, which saw an uptick of 100%, followed by:

  • Oregon, at 99% 
  • Alaska, with a rise of 95%
  • West Virginia, which increased 83%
  • Arkansas, which was up 72%

The states with the highest foreclosure rates were Illinois, which saw 0.25% of all housing units with a foreclosure filing. New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Ohio also all had high foreclosure rates.

While foreclosure activity was below pre-recession averages for most metro areas, it was above average in:

  • Honolulu
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Baltimore
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Albany, New York
  • Montgomery, Alabama

Cleveland and Atlantic City, New Jersey tied for the largest foreclosure filing among the 223 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000 in the first half of the year, at 0.33%, followed by Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Columbia, South Carolina at 0.30% and 0.29, respectively.

California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Illinois all had the greatest number of foreclosure starts, which indicates there could be an increase in foreclosures in those states in the coming quarters.

Top 10 States With Highest Foreclosure Filings

State Name Total Properties With Filings % of Housing Units % Increase from Jan – June 2022 % Increase from Jan – June 2021
Illinois 13,619 0.25 -3.32 175.47
New Jersey 9,094 0.24 -0.9 241.88
Maryland 5,858 0.23 99.66 410.72
Delaware 1,004 0.23 11.18 123.61
Ohio 10,546 0.2 -4.37 156.03
South Carolina 4,511 0.19 -1.25 173.73
Florida 18,530 0.19 5.14 136.02
Nevada 2,402 0.19 6.33 161.94
Indiana 5,254 0.18 8.96 142.12
Connecticut 2,437 0.16 23.14 191.51

The Bottom Line

While foreclosures rose in the first half of 2023, we are still far below the average foreclosure rates seen before the 2008 recession. It’s likely that we will see a rise in foreclosures in the coming quarters or even years as homeowners adjust to pandemic relief measures ending, but there’s no reason to think that the real estate market is crashing anytime soon. 

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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.

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