For the most part, the U.S. housing market is as healthy as it has ever been. The Wall Street Journal recently pointed out that the median amount of time a home for sale from July 2020 to June 2021 was on the market just one week. Median listing prices over the same period rose from $272,500 to $305,000.
One reason the demand has been so high recently is low interest rates for mortgages. Although they have risen slightly, they remain near historic lows. Additionally, home demand in some markets has been extraordinary, as people leave expensive and large coastal metros such as New York and San Francisco for places inland that are less expensive and supposedly have a better quality of life. Ironically, prices in these “in demand” markets have risen by double-digit percentages. One reason people can relocate is the mobility caused by the ability to work from home triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not all markets have done well. Recent research from ATTOM, which provides foreclosure data, showed that foreclosures are on the rise. Rick Sharga, executive vice president at RealtyTrac, an ATTOM company, commented: “As expected, now that the moratorium has been over for three months, foreclosure activity continues to increase.”
ATTOM described a foreclosure filing as “default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions.” The U.S. total for October was 20,587. It is worth noting that during the Great Recession, the housing price collapse pushed this number well into the hundreds of thousands.
The measure for foreclosure rates is foreclosures compared to housing units. The number nationwide was one per 6,675 in October. Among states, the highest rate was in Illinois, at one per 1,923, much worse than second-place Florida at one in every 3,180.
ATTOM looked at 220 metropolitan statistical areas with populations above 200,000. The city with the highest rate was St. Louis at one in every 1,138. It was followed by Trenton at one in every 1,293, Miami at one in every 2,233, Chicago at one in every 2,284 and Cleveland with one in every 2,285.
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