Home Foreclosures Increase Significantly, Three States Hit the Hardest

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to impact Americans, home foreclosures have experienced a significant increase in February.

ATTOM, a real estate data provider, recently published a report revealing that 32,938 properties faced foreclosure filings last month, which includes default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions. This marks an 8% rise compared to the previous year, despite a slight 1% decrease from January.

Rob Barber, the CEO of ATTOM, commented on the findings, saying, “The annual uptick in U.S. foreclosure activity hints at shifting dynamics within the housing market. These trends could signify evolving financial landscapes for homeowners, prompting adjustments in market strategies and lending practices.”

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It’s not all bad news, though. Foreclosure completions actually declined in 28 states, with significant drops in Georgia (52%) and New York (41%).

However, other states weren’t so lucky. South Carolina, Missouri, and Pennsylvania saw foreclosures surge by 51%, 50%, and 46%, respectively, while Texas and Indiana experienced more modest increases of 7% and 0.8%.

While the current foreclosure rates are still much lower than what we saw during the 2008 financial crisis, there’s a risk that things could get worse. Americans are facing the triple threat of high home prices, rising mortgage rates, and increasing property taxes.

Housing affordability is at its lowest point in decades. According to Zillow, the typical salary needed to buy a home in the U.S. has jumped to $106,500 – a whopping 61% increase from just four years ago when it was $59,000.

So, what’s causing this affordability crisis? Well, there are a few factors at play. The Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest-rate hikes pushed mortgage rates above 8% last year for the first time in nearly two decades.

Even though rates have come down a bit, they’re still hovering around 7% due to stubbornly high inflation.

In fact, Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed loan rose to 6.74% this week – a far cry from the pandemic-era lows of 3%.

Despite the higher mortgage rates, home prices have barely budged. That’s largely because there aren’t enough homes for sale.

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Many sellers who locked in low mortgage rates before the pandemic are reluctant to put their homes on the market, leaving few options for eager buyers.

It’s a tough situation for many Americans, and it looks like the affordability crisis isn’t going away anytime soon.

As foreclosures continue to rise, it’s clear that the cost-of-living crisis is taking a toll on homeowners across the country.