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Foreclosure activity jumps; increases expected for 6 months

Foreclosure filings in February were up almost 129% compared to the same time last year.

“February foreclosure activity looks a lot like what we can expect to see for at least the next six months — double digit month-over-month growth, and triple digit year-over-year increases,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president at RealtyTrac, an ATTOM company.

He said the increase is actually a return-to-normal levels, after two years of artificially low numbers due to government and industry efforts to protect vulnerable homeowners.

ATTOM’s foreclosure report shows 25,833 filings across the U.S. last month. That includes default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

Lenders started the foreclosure process on 16,545 properties, up 176% from a year ago. States with the most foreclosure starts were California, Florida, Texas, Illinois and Ohio. Arizona ranked 15th. 

Among the 220 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, these had the highest foreclosure rates in February 2022:

  • Cleveland, OH (one in every 1,483 housing units with a foreclosure filing)
  • Atlantic City, NJ (one in every 1,832 housing units)
  • Columbia, SC (one in every 1,890 housing units)
  • Lakeland, FL (one in every 1,983 housing units)
  • Chicago, IL (one in every 2,058 housing units).

The Phoenix market had one foreclosure filing in every 6,003 housing units. Foreclosure activity for Phoenix in February 2022 was up 284% compared to February 2021.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.