Foreclosures skyrocket in 2022 but remain below pre-pandemic levels

In its year-end 2022 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, Attom Data Solutions revealed that 324,237 properties across the country had foreclosure filings last year.

That’s up 115% from 2021, with default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions skyrocketing after the expiration of government-imposed moratoriums on foreclosure activity triggered by the COVID-19 health crisis.

Still, compared to historic norms, foreclosures remain markedly low. Total filings from last year were down 34% from 2019, before the pandemic took hold. Filings also were 89% lower than their peak of almost 2.9 million in 2010, during the subprime mortgage crisis.

The total number of foreclosure filings last year represented 0.23% of all housing units in the country, up from 0.11% in 2021 but down from 0.36% in 2019 and well below the peak of 2.23% in 2010.

“Eighteen months after the end of the government’s foreclosure moratorium, and with less than 5% of the 8.4 million borrowers who entered the CARES Act forbearance program remaining, foreclosure activity remains significantly lower than it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rick Sharga, Attom Data’s executive vice president of market intelligence.

“It seems clear that government and mortgage industry efforts during the pandemic, coupled with a strong economy, have helped prevent millions of unnecessary foreclosures.”

Interestingly, only 42,854 properties were repossessed through foreclosures in 2022. This figure was up 67% year over year but down 20% from 2019 and 96% below the peak of 1.05 million homes in 2010.

“Unlike foreclosure activity during the Great Recession, the majority of homes in foreclosure are not being repossessed by lenders,” Sharga said. “Our recent homeowner equity report shows that 93% of borrowers in foreclosure today have positive equity, which they appear to be leveraging in order to avoid a foreclosure by refinancing their mortgage or selling the property at a profit. It seems likely that this is a trend that will continue in 2023.”


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