Foreclosures hit a 12-year low in 2017, and the distressed properties remain increasingly difficult to find in many markets. Foreclosure filings in 2017—which include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions—dropped to the lowest level since 2005.
In total, foreclosure filings were reported on 676,535 U.S. properties in 2017. That represents just 0.51 percent of all housing units in the country. Filings were down 76 percent from a peak of nearly 2.9 million in 2010, ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data firm, reports in its newly released 2017 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.
“Thanks to a housing boom driven primarily by a scarcity of supply, which has helped to limit home purchases to the most highly qualified—and low-risk—borrowers, the U.S. housing market has the luxury of playing a version of foreclosure limbo in which it searches for how low foreclosures can go,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “There are a few notable local market exceptions playing a different version of foreclosure limbo in which a backlog of legacy foreclosure activity left over from the last housing crisis is still winding its way through a labyrinthine foreclosure process, resulting in incongruous jumps in various stages of foreclosure activity in markets such as New York, New Jersey, and D.C.”
Foreclosure starts are at a new record low nationwide. Lenders started the foreclosure process on 383,701 properties in 2017, down a whopping 82 percent from a peak of more than 2 million in 2009. That marks a new all-time low for foreclosure start data since ATTOM Data Solutions began collecting such data in 2006.
But a few markets are countering that trend. For example, the District of Columbia and five states posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts in 2017, which include Washington, D.C. (up 54 percent); West Virginia (up 32 percent); Vermont (up 27 percent); Oklahoma (up 23 percent); Illinois (up 2 percent); and Louisiana (up 2 percent).