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Foreclosure completion rates declined in 28 states, including New Jersey, in February compared to a year ago, according to the latest U.S. Foreclosure Report released by ATTOM, a curator of land, property and real estate data. 

States with the largest year-over-year declines in completed foreclosures (REOs) were Georgia (-52%), New York (-41%), North Carolina (-34%), New Jersey (-28%) and Maryland (-26%). 

Although there was collectively an 11% drop in REOs nationwide, some states bucked the trend and experienced a significant year-over-year increase in completed foreclosures: South Carolina (+51%); Missouri (+50%); Pennsylvania (+46%); and Texas (+7%). 

Metropolitan areas with populations over 1 million with the worst foreclosure rates in February 2024 included Orlando, Florida (1 in 1,938 housing units); Cleveland, Ohio (1 in 2,176 housing units); Riverside, California (1 in 2,293 housing units); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1 in 2,355 housing units); and Miami, Florida (1 in 2,392 housing units). 

Foreclosure Starts Up 

Although completed bank repossessions were down year-over-year in February, there was a nationwide uptick in initial foreclosure filings, both monthly and annually. Lenders started the foreclosure process on 22,575 U.S. properties in February 2024, up 4% from the prior month and an increase of 11% from February 2023. 

Those states that saw the greatest number of foreclosures starts in February 2024 included:  Florida (2,732 foreclosure starts); California (2,730 foreclosure starts); Texas (2,694 foreclosure starts); New York (1,289 foreclosure starts); and Ohio (1,097 foreclosure starts). 

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

6 NJ Counties Vulnerable to Market Decline 

Last week, ATTOM released its Special Housing Risk Report spotlighting housing markets deemed more at-risk to market decline because homes are less affordable, there are more underwater mortgages (mortgage balances exceeding estimated property values), higher local unemployment rates, higher property taxes and insurance costs, and other factors. 

That report showed that California, New Jersey and Illinois have the highest concentration of most-at-risk real estate markets. In New Jersey, the report included Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Ocean, Passaic and Union counties among its 50 most-at-risk counties nationwide.