According to ATTOM Data Solutions' Midyear 2017 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, a total of 428,400 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings -- default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions -- in the first six months of 2017, down 20 percent from the same time period a year ago and down 28 percent from the same time period two years ago.
Counter to the national trend, eight states and the District of Columbia posted a year-over-year increase in foreclosure activity in the first half of 2017. Foreclosure activity increased 60 percent in the District compared to a year, while states with an increase-included New Jersey (up 2 percent); Connecticut (up 3 percent); Louisiana (up 5 percent); and Mississippi (up 11 percent).
Also bucking the national trend with increasing foreclosure activity compared to a year ago were 28 of the 217 metro areas (13 percent) analyzed in the report, including Houston, Texas (up 18 percent); Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (up 22 percent); Hartford, Connecticut (up 12 percent); New Orleans, Louisiana (up 4 percent); and Albany, New York (up 2 percent).
"With a few local market exceptions, foreclosures have become the unicorns of the housing market: hard to find but highly sought after," said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions. "More than 38 percent of properties sold at foreclosure auction in the first half of this year went to third-party buyers rather than back to the bank -- the highest share we've ever seen going back as far as 2000, the earliest this data is available,
"Although foreclosures are fading overall, there has been a notable an uptick in foreclosures completed by some nonbank entities -- counter to the sharp downward foreclosure trend among big banks and government-backed loans," Blomquist added. "These divergent foreclosure trends are likely the result of the big banks and government agencies selling off distressed loans over the past few years to nonbank entities that are now foreclosing on an increasing volume of that deferred distress."
New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland post highest state foreclosure rates
Nationwide 0.32 percent of all housing units (one in every 311) had a foreclosure filing in the first half of 2017.
States with the highest foreclosure rates in the first half of 2017 were New Jersey (0.99 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Delaware (0.73 percent); Maryland (0.62 percent); Illinois (0.55 percent); and Connecticut (0.50 percent)
Other states with first-half foreclosure rates among the 10 highest nationwide were Nevada (0.47 percent); Florida (0.46 percent); South Carolina (0.45 percent); Ohio (0.44 percent); and New Mexico (0.37 percent).
Atlantic City, Trenton, Philadelphia, with highest metro foreclosure rates
Among 217 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rates in the first half of 2017 were Atlantic City, New Jersey (1.71 percent of housing units with foreclosure filings); Trenton, New Jersey (1.02 percent); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (0.79 percent); Rockford, Illinois (0.74 percent); and Baltimore, Maryland (0.69 percent).
Other metro areas with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 highest in the first half of 2017 were Fayetteville, North Carolina (0.69 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Columbia, South Carolina (0.66 percent); Chicago, Illinois (0.65 percent); Peoria, Illinois (0.60 percent); and Reading, Pennsylvania (0.60 percent).
Foreclosure starts down nationwide, up in DC and seven states
A total of 203,875 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in the first six months of 2017, down 20 percent from a year ago to the lowest six-month total going back to the second half of 2005, the earliest data available.
Counter to the national trend, seven states and the District of Columbia posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts: Texas (0.3 percent increase); Illinois (13 percent increase); Connecticut (3 percent increase); Oklahoma (35 percent increase); DC (114 percent increase); West Virginia (5 percent increase); Montana (12 percent increase); North Dakota (14 percent increase).
Bank repossessions drop to lowest level since 2014
Lenders foreclosed (REO) on a total of 169,124 U.S. properties in the first six months of 2017, down 14 percent from a year ago to the lowest six-month total since the second half of 2014.
Counter to the national trend, 15 states and the District of Columbia posted year-over-year increases in REOs in the first half of 2017. REO activity in the first half of 2017 increased 35 percent from the same time period a year ago in the District, and states with a year-over-year increase included New Jersey (up 41 percent); Illinois (up 9 percent); Arizona (up 6 percent); Massachusetts (up 37 percent); and Connecticut (up 12 percent).
Share of foreclosures sold to third-party buyers at new high
Among properties lost to foreclosure at the public foreclosure auction in the first half of 2017, 38.3 percent went to third-party buyers, up from 26.9 percent in the first half of 2016 to the highest level as far back as data is available, to the first half of 2000. The share of completed foreclosures going to third-party buyers peaked during the previous housing boom at 22.3 percent in the first half of 2005.
Among 183 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000 and sufficient data, those with the highest share of completed foreclosures going to third-party buyers at the foreclosure auction were Reno, Nevada (80.6 percent); Bremerton, Washington (74.0 percent); Salt Lake City, Utah (73.9 percent); Phoenix, Arizona (73.3 percent); and Vallejo-Fairfield, California (71.4 percent).
Q2 2017 foreclosure activity below pre-recession averages in 49 percent of markets
There were a total of 220,062 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings in Q2 2017, down 6 percent from previous quarter and down 22 percent from a year ago to lowest quarterly total since Q2 2006.
The national foreclosure activity total in Q2 2017 was 21 percent below the pre-recession average of 278,912 per quarter from Q1 2006 to Q3 2007, and Q2 2017 was the third consecutive quarter with foreclosure activity below the pre-recession average.
Second quarter foreclosure activity was below pre-recession averages in 107 out 217 (49 percent) metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000 and sufficient historical foreclosure data, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco, Riverside-San Bernardino, Phoenix and Detroit.
"Robust home price growth combined with strong employment growth has led to an ongoing decline in foreclosure activity in the greater Seattle area," said Matthew Gardner, chief economist with Windermere Real Estate, covering the Seattle market, where Q1 2017 foreclosure activity was 26 percent below its pre-recession average. "As we move forward through this year, I expect the level of foreclosure activity to continue to drop and fall further below the long-term average."
Metro areas with second quarter foreclosure activity still above pre-recession averages included New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, Baltimore, Portland, Oregon, Virginia Beach, Providence, Rhode Island, Richmond, Virginia, and New Orleans.
Average foreclosure timeline hits new all-time high
Properties foreclosed in the second quarter of 2017 took an average of 883 days from the first public foreclosure notice to complete the foreclosure process, up from 814 days in the previous quarter and up from 631 days in the second quarter of 2016 to the longest average foreclosure timeline as far back as data is available, Q1 2007.
States with the longest average foreclosure timelines for foreclosures completed in Q2 2017 were New Jersey (1,347), Indiana (1,259), New York (1,255), Florida (1,203), and Illinois (1,059).
States with the shortest average foreclosure timelines for foreclosures completed in Q2 2017 were Virginia (176 days), Alabama (295 days), Arkansas (301 days), Oregon (347 days), and North Carolina (374 days).
June foreclosure activity drops to lowest level since November 2005
There were a total of 73,828 U.S. properties with a foreclosure filing in June 2017, down 9 percent from the previous month and down 22 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since November 2005.