Foreclosures surge 181% to highest levels since March 2020

Chicago, New York, LA and Houston lead the pack

A photo illustration of "Foreclosure" signs (iStock)

Some eight months after a nationwide moratorium on foreclosures expired, foreclosure filings soared to the highest level since the pandemic began.

Last month, 33,333 properties across the U.S. faced foreclosure, a 181 percent jump from March 2021 and 29 percent pop from February, according to a report by foreclosure tracker Attom. The first quarter saw 78,271 properties with a foreclosure filing, a 39 percent from the previous quarter and 132 percent from last year.

Those figures represent the highest number of foreclosures since March 2020 when nearly 47,000 U.S. homes held foreclosure filings, said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence for ATTOM.

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March marked the 11th consecutive month in which foreclosure activity posted a year-over-year increase.

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Not only did foreclosure activity hit a peak, the time it took properties to foreclose ticked down 3 percent from the previous quarter. Properties foreclosed on in the first quarter were in the process for an average of 917 days, down from 941 in the previous period and 930 in the first quarter of 2021.

On a statewide level, California reported the highest number of foreclosure starts for the first three months of 2022 at 5,378. Florida and Texas took second and third place with 4,707 and 4,649 starts, respectively.

Among major metros, Chicago saw the greatest jump in new filings during the first quarter of 2022 with 3,101 homes in foreclosure. New York City was close behind with 2,580 starts, despite a statewide foreclosure moratorium that expired in January of this year.

Despite the rise in activity, Sharga said the growth will likely continue, but the country likely won’t see pre-pandemic levels “until the end of the year at the earliest, unless the economy takes a significant turn for the worse.”