The days of rampant foreclosures resulting in scores of empty homes are thankfully now well in the rearview mirror—for most of the nation.
Foreclosure filings in the first half of 2019 are down 18% compared with a year earlier, according to a recent report from real estate information company ATTOM Data Solutions. The 296,458 filings in the first six months of the year represented an 82% drop from the worst of the foreclosure crisis in the first half of 2010.
“Foreclosures are continuing to come down,” says Todd Teta, ATTOM’s chief product officer. “Homeowners who can’t make their payments are able to get out of their debt by selling their homes rather than going through foreclosure. Increased home prices are allowing them to sell the home for more than they owe.”
ATTOM looked at default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions in more than 2,200 counties to come up with its findings.
But there are a few metropolitan areas that are bucking the trend. Buffalo, NY, a one-time industrial powerhouse on the Canadian border, is seeing the greatest spike in foreclosure filings—they jumped 33% over the previous year. (Metros include the main city and surrounding towns, suburbs, and smaller cities.)
“Lenders are becoming more aggressive in taking a home through a foreclosure [process],” says Teta. “They have more confidence they can recoup or minimize their losses by foreclosing and then selling the home. … [That’s] because prices have stabilized and are increasing in most areas.”
The surge in folks losing their homes comes as a bit of a surprise as Buffalo was named the 16th-hottest market in the nation in May by realtor.com®. It’s also one of the best places in the nation for members of the middle class to buy a home.
“We’ve been seeing a real resurgence in the area,” says Buffalo real estate broker Ryan Connolly of Re/Max Plus. “Unless they’re listed too high, most properties are selling within the week.”
Cities in Florida, which was hit hard by the foreclosure crisis of a decade ago, dominated the rest of the list of where foreclosure filings are rising. That’s partly because it takes longer for homeowners to lose their properties in the state. It took an average of 1,073 days, or nearly three years, for foreclosures to be completed in the Sunshine State. That’s the third-longest timespan in the country.
Buffalo was followed by Orlando, FL, where foreclosure filings were up 32%; Jacksonville, FL, at 18%; Miami, at 7%; and Tampa, FL, at 5%.
When it came to states, New Jersey had the highest foreclosure rate, at 0.54%. Delaware was second, at 0.46%, followed by Maryland, at 0.43%, Florida, at 0.39%, and Illinois, at 0.38%.
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