Real estate foreclosures continue to trend downward. Analysis of property and loan data shows mortgages and real estate loans in the United States are showing a marked decrease in the likelihood of going to foreclosure, compared to this time last year. The decrease is evident not just in completed foreclosures, where the lender goes all the way through the court process to repossess the property, but also in filings for foreclosure, which doesn’t always result in the full foreclosure occurring. This trend of property owners avoiding foreclosure is apparent across nearly every state in America, and some have seen the number of foreclosures drop very significantly. Michigan and Massachusetts, for example, are down eighty-four and seventy-four percent, respectively. Metropolitan areas are also showing declines in the rates and number of foreclosures. New York city, for example, has seen foreclosures drop over half compared to a year past. This is good news for lenders as well as owners. For many lenders, the foreclosure process can be expensive and time consuming, even if they do end up with the deed to the property at the end of it. And for owners, they’ll find lenders are less likely to be skittish about extending credit in markets where loan holders are making payments and keeping current. Over all, fewer foreclosures are a good sign of a healthy property market.

Key Points:

  • 1The rate of foreclosure starts was largely flat from April to May 2019, but down 9 percent from May 2018, which is the fourth consecutive month with an annual decline, ATTOM found.
  • 2Among metro areas that saw big drops were Birmingham, Alabama (down 67 percent), New York, New York (down 59 percent), Washington, DC (down 58 percent) and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (down 57 percent)
  • 3Metro areas with populations greater than 1 million that saw an annual decrease in foreclosure starts included Indianapolis (down 82 percent), Houston (down 65 percent) and San Jose (down 58 percent).

A handful of state reported precipitous drops in completed foreclosures, including Michigan, which dropped 84 percent, Massachusetts (down 74 percent), Indiana (down 67 percent), Kentucky (down 66 percent), and New Jersey (down 64 percent).