Fewest quarterly foreclosure filings in 14 years: Attom

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While foreclosures and distressed mortgages continue to descend overall, trends are moving in the opposite direction in a handful of states, according to Attom Data Solutions.

A total of 143,105 properties entered the foreclosure process in the third quarter, down 19% from the year before and 6% quarter-over-quarter, to the lowest level since the second quarter of 2005. Nationally, one in every 946 properties had a foreclosure filing.

"Foreclosure activity continues to decline across the country, which is a good sign that the housing market and the broader economy remain strong — and that the lending excesses that helped bring down the economy during the Great Recession remain a memory," Todd Teta, chief product officer at Attom, said in a press release.

There were 24,453 properties that started the foreclosure process in September, or one in every 2,767. It also marked the 15th consecutive month that posted an annual decline, falling 15% from a year ago and 12% from August. However, the numbers don't look as positive broken down granularly.

"This is not to say that everything in the latest foreclosure picture is rosy. Some states have seen their foreclosure rates increase this year, which could cause some concern," Teta said. "But overall, the foreclosure numbers reflect a market in which buyers can afford their homes and lenders remain careful in loaning to home buyers who have little chance of repaying."

Foreclosure rates in nine states increased year-over-year, with North Dakota's 54.39% jump leading the way. Montana's 18.24% and Nebraska's 13.76% followed.

The worst foreclosure rates of the quarter came from Delaware with one in every 415 housing units. New Jersey came next with one in every 436, then Maryland's one in every 500.

By city, New Jersey had the two worst foreclosure rates with Atlantic City's one in every 269 housing units and Trenton's one in every 312.

Lenders repossessed 34,432 properties in in the quarter, down 33% year-over-year but up 6% from the second quarter.

The average time to foreclose on a property jumped to 841 days from 713 days the previous year and 716 days in the prior quarter — the longest period since the fourth quarter of 2017.

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Foreclosures Distressed REO Default management Attom Data Solutions North Dakota Delaware New Jersey