By Steve Brown | Dallas Morning News
Lender moratoriums are keeping home foreclosures at unheard of low levels.
In February, only 11,281 nationwide home foreclosure notices were recorded – down 77% from a year earlier, according to the latest report from Attom Data Solutions.
“Extensions to the federal government’s foreclosure moratorium and CARES Act mortgage forbearance program continue to keep foreclosure activity historically low,” Rick Sharga, executive vice president of RealtyTrac, an Attom Data Solutions company, said in the report. “These government actions, and the efforts of lenders and mortgage servicing companies, have helped millions of homeowners avoid foreclosure during a year-long global pandemic and a recession that resulted in 22 million lost jobs.”
About 2.6 million U.S. homeowners are still receiving payment forbearance from lenders because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nationwide lenders repossessed 1,545 properties through completed foreclosures.
While housing analysts expect foreclosure filings to increase when lender forbearance programs end, huge increases in home values during the last year will make it easier for troubled mortgage holders.
Nationwide homeowners gained more than $1.5 trillion in home equity in 2020, according to CoreLogic. It was the largest such gain in seven years. The average residential property owner saw an $26,300 increase in home equity in 2020 – the difference between the property value and what’s owed.
“Positive factors like record-low interest rates and a booming housing market encouraged many families to enter homeownership,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “This growing bank of personal wealth that homeownership affords was noticed by many but in particular for first-time buyers who want a piece of the cake.”
Source: Orange County Register