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September foreclosure filings were down 13 percent from August and 24 percent from a year ago. This data comes in from ATTOM Data Solutions’ recently released September and Q3 2016 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™. The report showed a total of 82,972 properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions — in September, the lowest level since December 2005.

There were a total of 293,190 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings in Q3 2016, up 4 percent from the previous quarter but down 10 percent from a year ago. It was the fourth consecutive quarter where foreclosure activity has decreased on a year-over-year basis.

“Foreclosure activity has been on a steady slide downward over the past six years, finally dropping back below pre-crisis levels in September,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “While we’ve know that the national foreclosure problem has been dying a long, slow death for quite some time, the final nail in the coffin of the foreclosure crisis is the year-over-year decrease in the average foreclosure timeline nationwide that we saw in Q3 2016 — the first time that’s happened since we began tracking foreclosure timelines in Q1 2007.

“The decrease in the average foreclosure timeline indicates that banks have worked through the bulk of the legacy foreclosure backlog in most states — with a few lingering exceptions — and that most of the foreclosures being completed now are relatively recent defaults that are more efficiently progressing through the foreclosure pipeline,” Blomquist adds.

Average time to foreclose decreases annually for first time in report history
Properties foreclosed in Q3 2016 took an average of 625 days to complete foreclosure, down from 631 days in the previous quarter and down from 630 days a year ago — the first year-over-year decrease since ATTOM began tracking average foreclosure timelines in Q1 2007.

The average time to foreclose decreased from a year ago in 19 states, including Nevada (down 22 percent), Massachusetts (down 22 percent), Michigan (down 21 percent), Oregon (down 20 percent), and Texas (down 20 percent).

States with the shortest foreclosure timelines for properties foreclosed in the third quarter were Virginia (196 days), New Hampshire (230 days), Texas (246 days), Minnesota (250 days), and Mississippi (253 days). All five states with the shortest foreclosure timelines employ the non-judicial foreclosure process.

New Jersey, Hawaii, New York, Florida, Illinois with longest foreclosure timelines
Counter to the national trend, the average time to foreclose in Q3 2016 increased from a year ago in 27 states, including Pennsylvania (up 28 percent), Wisconsin (up 25 percent), Maryland (up 22 percent), Arizona (up 21 percent), and Colorado (up 20 percent).

States with the longest average foreclosure timelines for properties foreclosed in the third quarter were New Jersey (1,262 days); Hawaii (1,241 days); New York (1,070 days); Florida (1,038 days); and Illinois (942 days). All five states with the longest foreclosure timelines primarily employ the judicial foreclosure process.

Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada post highest state foreclosure rates in September
The report showed a national foreclosure rate of one in every 1,600 U.S. properties with a foreclosure filing in September.

States with the highest foreclosure rates in September were Delaware (one in every 680 housing units with a foreclosure filing); New Jersey (one in every 691); Nevada (one in every 897); Illinois (one in every 946); and Florida (one in every 950).

Other states with foreclosure rates in the top 10 highest nationwide in September were Maryland (one in every 955 housing units with a foreclosure filing); South Carolina (one in every 1,049); Utah (one in every 1,258); Connecticut (one in every 1,290); and New Mexico (one in every 1,324).

Atlantic City, Rockford, Columbia post highest metro foreclosure rates in September
Among 216 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rates in September were Atlantic City, N.J. (one in every 375 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Rockford, Ill. (one in every 597); Columbia, S.C. (one in every 629); Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (one in every 710); and Jacksonville, Fla. (one in every 722).

Other metro areas with foreclosure rates in the top 10 highest in September were Medford, Ore. (one in every 742 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla. (one in every 755); Chicago (one in every 767); Philadelphia (one in every 771); and Bakersfield, Calif. (one in every 778).

September foreclosure starts drop to more than 11-year low
A total of 34,685 properties started the foreclosure process in September, down 13 percent from the previous month and down 20 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since May 2005 — a more than 11-year low.

Counter to the national trend, 18 states posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts in September, including Arkansas (up 156 percent); Delaware (up 115 percent); Maryland (up 87 percent); Utah (up 63 percent); and Oklahoma (up 47 percent).

September bank repossessions decrease 32 percent from year ago
There were 27,514 properties repossessed by lenders (REO) in September, down 12 percent from the previous month and down 32 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since February 2015.

Counter to the national trend, nine states posted a year-over-year increase in REO activity in September, including Arizona (up 44 percent); Massachusetts (up 40 percent); Washington (up 18 percent); Connecticut (up 16 percent); and California (up 12 percent).

Investors purchase 44 percent of properties sold at foreclosure auction in Q3 2016
Third-party investors purchased 44 percent of all properties sold at foreclosure auction in the third quarter, with the remaining 56 percent transferring back to the foreclosing lender at the auction.

The 44 percent sold to third-party investors was the highest share going back as far as Q1 2000 — the earliest data is available — and well above the pre-recession peak of 30 percent in Q2 2005.

Of the properties sold to third-party investors at the foreclosure auction in Q3 2016, 38 percent were sold to institutional investors, defined as entities purchasing at least 10 properties in a calendar year. That was up from 32 percent in the previous quarter and 26 percent a year ago but still below the peak of 70 percent in Q2 2009.

View the full report here.

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