U.S. Foreclosures Drop to 9-Year Low

In 2016, distressed sales hit a nine-year low, according to ATTOM Data Solutions latest report. In the U.S., 16.2 percent of single-family home and condo sales were distressed sales – bank-owned sales, short sales or foreclosure auctions sold to third-party buyers – down from 18.8 percent of all sales in 2015.

  • Bank-owned (REO) sales hit a 10-year low, accounting for 8.0 percent of all sales in 2016, down from 10.0 percent in 2015.
  • Short sales – homes that sold for less than the combined amount of loans secured by the property – hit an eight-year low, and accounted for 5.5 percent of all 2016 home sales, down from 6.0 percent in 2015.
  • Foreclosure auction sales (trustee's sales or sheriff's sales) sold to third-party investors (not including those going back to the foreclosing lender) hit a nine-year low, and accounted for 2.8 percent of all home sales in 2016, down from 2.9 percent in 2015.

"The housing market hit several important milestones in 2016, with distressed sales at a nine-year low and home prices at a 10-year high – just barely below the pre-recession peak in 2006," says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

"This was all good news for home sellers, who realized their biggest average profits since purchase nationwide in 2016," Blomquist adds. "Even distressed property sellers are benefitting from this hot seller's market, with a record-high share of homes at foreclosure auction being purchased by third-party buyers rather than reverting back to the foreclosing bank."

While foreclosures were generally down, the share sold to third-party investors hit a record high, however: Third-party foreclosure-auction buyers accounted for 28.5 percent of all completed auctions in 2016, with the rest (71.5 percent) going back to the foreclosing lender. That's an increase from 23.5 percent in 2015 and the highest share since ATTOM first recording the numbers in 2000.