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.

Home Repossessions Near Pre Crisis Low

The monthly rate of real-estate-owned filings has fallen to a level that is very near the pace of completed foreclosures prior to the housing crisis.

The share of residential loans that were past due at least 90 days was 2.5 percent as of Nov. 30, 2016 – the lowest share since August 2007.

Serious mortgage delinquency was previously reported at 2.5 percent as of a month earlier. As of a year earlier, the 90-day rate was 3.3 percent. Those performance metrics and more were presented by CoreLogic Inc. in its National Foreclosure Report November 2016.

New Jersey's 5.6 percent 90-day delinquency rate was the highest in the nation as of the latest month. After that was 5.0 percent in New York, then 4.2 percent in Mississippi, 4.1 percent in Louisiana and 3.7 percent in Maine.

At 0.9 percent, Colorado had the lowest rate of serious delinquency.

As of the most-recent month, around 325,000 U.S. mortgages were in some stage of foreclosure. The foreclosure inventory was 333,000 as of October 2016 and 465,000 as of November 2015.

The decline from a year earlier in the foreclosure inventory was the 61st year-over-year reduction.

Lenders Receive Early Christmas Present, Ruling Allows them to Reopen Dismissed Foreclusures

Delinquent Florida homeowners could be getting long-delayed foreclosure notices after a court ruling cleared the way for lenders to revive cases that have stalled for years.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled last month that lenders can refile foreclosure cases against owners still in default, even if the cases started more than five years ago, beyond the statute of limitations.

During the housing meltdown that began in 2006, lenders filed foreclosures by the tens of thousands, but cases often were dismissed on legal technicalities by lenders or judges. In some instances, mortgage companies didn't have witnesses in place for trial; in others, the judges ruled that homeowners were improperly served foreclosure papers.

The Florida Supreme Court heard the Bartram case in 2015 and issued its ruling on Nov. 3.

Homeowners who have been delinquent for longer than five years can expect to start hearing again from their lenders, said Roy Oppenheim, a real estate attorney in Weston.