US foreclosure filings jump as some states end relief measures

August rate is same period last year because of continued government intervention, according to monthly report from Attom Data Solutions

National Insights /
Sep.September 14, 2020 03:30 PM
U.S. foreclosure filings in August jumped 11% as some states ended relief measures, though continued government intervention has prevented sharper increase (iStock)
U.S. foreclosure filings in August jumped 11% as some states ended relief measures, though continued government intervention has prevented sharper increase (iStock)

August foreclosure filings across the U.S. jumped 11 percent from July, as several states ended their relief measures for homeowners who remain hard hit by the pandemic. Banks also repossessed over 2,000 homes last month, down slightly from July.

There were 9,889 foreclosure filings nationwide in August, according to Attom Data Solutions’ monthly tally.

Rick Sharga of RealtyTrac — an Attom Data subsidiary — said the increase was likely a result of several states having lifted their foreclosure moratoriums.

But the August filings were also 81 percent below the same period last year, as many states still have foreclosure freezes in place. And a ban on foreclosures involving home loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac extends through Dec. 31.

The foreclosure ban on Fannie and Freddie-backed mortgages have provided relief for millions of American homeowners. The two government sponsored enterprises back about two-thirds of all home loans originated in the U.S.

But as those measures come to an end, foreclosures are expected to rise nationwide, experts have noted.

Millions of Americans remain out of work and in August, nearly 1 in 3 said they struggled to afford basic household expenses, according to U.S. Census data.

The August foreclosure rate was the highest in Jacksonville, Florida, among major metros, according to Attom. In that city, 1 in 5,877 housing units was subject to a foreclosure filing. Other large cities with high foreclosure rates included Miami, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Louisville, Kentucky.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis extended the moratorium on residential evictions and foreclosures until October. But that does not stop lenders from filing notices of default, scheduling auctions or foreclosing on homeowners who defaulted on their debt before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Banks repossessed 2,035 homes last month, down 6 percent from July and 82 percent from August 2019 — the lowest level since 2005 — according to the report.


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