Three months after the end of a federal foreclosure moratorium intended to keep people in their homes during the pandemic, foreclosure activity continues to increase across the region and nationwide.
Most foreclosure filings — including default notices, scheduled auctions, or bank repossessions — are on vacant and abandoned properties or loans that were in foreclosure before the pandemic, according to real estate data provider Attom. The moratorium covered about 70% of the nation’s mortgages and about 80% of Philadelphia’s home loans.
Other policies preventing lenders from starting the foreclosure process will expire at the end of the year, when many homeowners will exit forbearance plans that allowed them to delay mortgage payments during the pandemic.
Last month, lenders started the foreclosure process on about 10,800 properties nationwide. That’s up 5% from September and more than double the number of foreclosure starts in October 2020, according to a foreclosure market report that Attom is to release Wednesday.
From September to October, Pennsylvania and New Jersey were among the states with the biggest increases in foreclosure starts.
“Most foreclosure activity for the next few months is likely to be foreclosure starts, since virtually nothing entered the foreclosure process during the past year,” Rick Sharga, executive vice president at RealtyTrac, an Attom company, said in a statement.
New Jersey had the third-highest rate of foreclosure activity in the country last month and has consistently been at the top of this list. One in every 3,438 housing units in the Garden State had a foreclosure filing, compared with a rate of 1 in 6,675 nationwide, according to Attom. Only Illinois and Florida had higher rates of foreclosure filings.
Pennsylvania had the third-highest number of completed foreclosures last month at 175. It was far below Illinois’ 1,075 repossessions by lenders. In the Philadelphia metropolitan area, lenders completed 72 foreclosures last month. That put the region in the top four metro areas nationwide but well below the St. Louis area, which saw 906 completed foreclosures.
Lenders completed about 70 foreclosures in New Jersey. In total last month, lenders repossessed more than 3,000 properties nationwide, up 13% from September and 17% from last year, according to Attom.