Foreclosure Starts Grow Again in the U.S.

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Up 36 Percent Annually in May

Based on ATTOM’s May 2021 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, there were a total of 10,821 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions — down 8 percent from a month ago but up 23 percent from a year ago. Foreclosure starts, which represent the initial notice of default, grew by 36 percent year-over-year.

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Rick Sharga

“While the increase in foreclosure activity is significant, it’s important to keep these numbers in perspective,” said RealtyTrac Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. “Last year’s numbers were extraordinarily low due to the implementation of the foreclosure moratorium and the CARES Act mortgage forbearance program, so the year-over-year numbers look a lot more dramatic than they are. And May foreclosure activity actually declined compared to April.”

The ATTOM May 2021 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report shows that nationwide one in every 12,700 housing units had a foreclosure filing. States with the highest foreclosure rates in May 2021 were Nevada (one in every 5,535 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Delaware (one in every 5,854 housing units); Illinois (one in every 5,903 housing units); Florida (one in every 7,207 housing units); and New Jersey (one in every 7,679 housing units).

Other high-level takeaways from the ATTOM May 2021 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report:

  • Among the 220 metro areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rates in May 2021 were Champaign, IL (one in every 2,420 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Peoria, IL (one in every 3,030 housing units); Cleveland, OH (one in every 3,715 housing units); Bakersfield, CA (one in every 3,774 housing units); and Mobile, AL (one in every 4,174 housing units).
  • Lenders started the foreclosure process on 5,909 U.S. properties in May 2021, down 7 percent from last month and down 36 percent from a year ago. Counter to the national trend, states that had at least 100 foreclosure starts in May 2021 and saw the greatest monthly increase in foreclosure starts included: Ohio (up 96 percent); Alabama (up 78 percent); Michigan (up 65 percent); Georgia (up 61 percent); and Virginia (up 50 percent).
  • Lenders repossessed 1,315 U.S. properties through completed foreclosures (REOs) in May 2021, down 15 percent from last month and down 54 percent from last year. Those states that had the greatest number of REOs in May 2021, included: California (154 REOs); Florida (148 REOs); Illinois (144 REOs); Texas (83 REOs); and Ohio (70 REOs).


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