July saw a total of 12,483 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions — down 4% from a month ago but up 40% from a year ago, according to the July 2021 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report from ATTOM. But that could all change because these numbers reflect the last month before the government moratorium is lifted.

“The end of the government’s moratorium won’t result in millions of foreclosures, but we’re likely to see a steady increase in default activity for the balance of the year,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of RealtyTrac, an ATTOM company. “Much of the foreclosure volume will come from the reinstatement of foreclosure proceedings on properties that had already been in default prior to the pandemic, and new foreclosure activity on vacant and abandoned properties.”

Among the 220 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rates in July 2021 were:

  • Atlantic City, NJ (one in every 2,290 housing units with a foreclosure filing)
  • Macon, GA (one in every 2,853 housing units)
  • Las Vegas, NV (one in every 2,884 housing units)
  • Cleveland, OH (one in every 3,658 housing units)
  • Champaign, IL (one in every 3,802 housing units)

In all, foreclosure starts increased in July in 23 states nationwide.

“Increased numbers of foreclosure starts may not result in a similar number of bank repossessions,” Sharga added. “Homeowner equity is at an all-time high, and many financially-distressed borrowers should have the opportunity to sell their homes – probably at a profit – rather than lose them to a foreclosure auction.”

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