ATTOM: Houston foreclosures on the rise even before Harvey

by Francis Monfort25 Sep 2017
Houston was already seeing signs of housing market distress ahead of Hurricane Harvey, according to the August Foreclosure Market Report released by ATTOM Data Solutions.

Scheduled foreclosure auctions in Houston rose 67% during the month from the year-ago level. So far in 2017, almost 5,000 homes in the city have started the foreclosure process. The year-to-date figure is up 28% in the metro area, bucking the national year-to-date trend of foreclosure starts that declined 19% from the same time period last year.

August saw 75,115 properties with foreclosure filings across the US, an increase of 14% from July’s all-time low but still down 21% from August 2016. Out of 217 metro areas covered by the report, 35% recorded year-over-year increases in overall foreclosure activity, which includes foreclosure starts and completions. The metro areas that bucked the national trend include Houston, which saw activity up 44%; Cleveland, Ohio, up 48%; Columbia, S.C., up 23%; New Orleans, up 20%; Hartford, Conn., up 9%; and Baton Rouge, La., up 52%.

Month-over-month increases in foreclosure activity were seen in 45 of those metro areas, including Phoenix, San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago, and Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. Foreclosure activity increased year-over-year in Alaska, Wyoming, Louisiana, Vermont, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia.

 “There is often a seasonal monthly increase in foreclosure activity in August paralleling the seasonal slowdown in the overall real estate market, but the 14% month-over-month increase nationwide this August is more than twice the average 6% seasonal increase in August over the previous 10 years — the highest in fact since a 37% month-over-month increase in August 2007,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “While this seasonal increase is certainly not enough to set off alarm bells nationwide, especially given that foreclosure activity was down annually for the 23rd consecutive month in August, there is cause for concern in a few local markets where foreclosure activity has consistently been trending higher on an annual basis this year.”

Related stories:
Foreclosure inventory lowest in nearly a decade
HUD grants foreclosure relief to 200,000 Harvey victims

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