Foreclosures Rise to Highest Since Pandemic Hit

A foreclosure sign stands in the yard of a red brick house.

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One of the pandemic’s economic saving graces is fading, as the number of foreclosures creeps back toward pre-pandemic levels.

That’s according to data from ATTOM, a property data provider, which showed the number of houses in some stage of the foreclosure process rose to 36,617, up 20% from March 2022, though still below the 48,004 in February 2020.

One of the saving graces of the pandemic-era economy, in contrast to previous economic crises such as the Great Recession, was that relatively few people lost their homes to foreclosure. Temporary government policies, including allowing mortgage holders in distress to skip payments without penalty, drove foreclosures to virtual nonexistence. As things have returned to normal, so have foreclosures. 

“This unfortunate trend can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as rising unemployment rates, foreclosure filings making their way through the pipeline after two years of government intervention, and other ongoing economic challenges,” said Rob Barber, CEO at ATTOM, in a press release. “However, with many homeowners still having significant home equity, that may help in keeping increased levels of foreclosure activity at bay.”

The pandemic-era runup in home prices—which has only recently begun to unwind—protects many homeowners because they can often sell their homes for a price that more than covers their outstanding mortgage, allowing them to avoid the foreclosure process.

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  1. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. "For many struggling mortgage borrowers with home equity, selling their home could be an alternative to foreclosure."

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