Foreclosures Down, at least for the Moment

In most of the country, the foreclosure rate on home mortgages is down to its lowest level in years — roughly a sixth of what it was just after the Bush Recession — but don’t get too happy too quick.

ATTOM Data Solutions, a California firm that maintains property databases to assess market trends, warns that the numbers cover the first quarter of 2020 — stopping just short of the upheavals of the coronavirus.

Even so, Birmingham was one of 88 markets with foreclosure rates higher than pre-recession averages.

Filings in March totaled 46,800 — “down 3 percent from the previous month and down 20 percent from March 2019,” the company notes.

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“As foreclosure activity across the country continued to decline in March, contributing to a run of quarterly declines, the number of filings remains just one-sixth of what it was following the Great Recession a decade ago,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions, in a media statement.

“This latest sign of the strong national housing market, however, comes with a huge caveat because it captures the pivotal month when millions of Americans started losing their jobs because of the economic fallout connected to the coronavirus pandemic,” Teta said.

“Banks are temporarily holding off on foreclosures and we expect this will bring foreclosures even lower for at least the next few quarters. However, with unemployment and other distress factors hitting the economy now, the numbers could rise significantly later this year and into next, depending on how many people can’t keep up with their payments.”

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