The shock of the 2008 financial crisis lingers in the minds of many Americans who watched home values plummet and millions of people lose their homes to foreclosures and short sales.

The economic downturn created by the coronavirus pandemic initially brought new fears of a housing market meltdown but the quick rebound in late spring and early summer in 2020 gave most buyers and sellers confidence in real estate. Still, many Americans continue to grapple with financial losses and economic hardship resulting from the pandemic.

Foreclosure rates rose during the third quarter of 2021 compared to the third quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2021, according to the Q3 2021 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report from ATTOM, parent company of RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure and distressed properties. But foreclosure rates still remain below historically normal rates, Rick Sharga, executive vice president of RealtyTrac, said in a statement.

The report shows 45,517 properties with a foreclosure filing such as a default notice, a scheduled auction or a bank repossession during the third quarter of 2021, up 34% from the previous quarter and 68% compared to the third quarter of 2020.

Looking just at September numbers, foreclosure filings rose 24% month-over-month and 102% compared to September 2020. But Sharga said that September foreclosure activity in 2021 was almost 70% lower than that activity in September 2019 before the pandemic.

Government agencies and mortgage lenders have worked throughout 2020 and 2021 to support homeowners who lost income resulting from the severe economic disruption caused by the pandemic.


As foreclosure moratoriums lift and forbearance programs come to an end, foreclosures are anticipated to increase. But if foreclosure activity increases at a similar pace as it did in September, the annual foreclosure rate will continue to be below normal, Sharga said.

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Lenders started the foreclosure process on 25,209 properties in the United States during the third quarter of 2021, up 32% from the previous quarter and up 67% from a year ago, according to ATTOM’s report. That increase represents the first double-digit quarterly percent increase since 2014.

Looking just at September 2021 numbers, 1 in every 7,008 properties in the United States had a foreclosure filing. On a statewide basis, Florida had the highest foreclosure rates with 1 in every 3,276 housing units, followed by Illinois (1 in every 3,508 housing units); Delaware (1 in every 3,834 housing units); Nevada (1 in every 4,009 housing units); and New Jersey (1 in every 4,487 housing units).