The Baton Rouge metro area in 2019 saw the largest year-over-year uptick in foreclosure starts among the nation’s largest metros, according to a recent market report, countering national trends that show U.S. foreclosure activity dropped to a 15-year low.
The ATTOM Data Solutions Year-End 2019 U.S. Foreclosure Report—which provides a count of the total number of properties with at least one foreclosure filing entered into its database during the month and quarter—collects data from more than 2,200 counties across the country, accounting for more than 90% of the U.S. population.
Baton Rouge was included with five metros that have populations near 1 million residents that saw a double-digit percent increase in foreclosure starts from last year, reporting a 43% spike in lenders starting the foreclosure process. It was followed by Atlanta (25%); Salt Lake City, (17%); Orlando, Florida (16%); and Portland, Oregon (16%).
Louisiana was among 14 states seeing a year-over-year increase in foreclosure starts (11%), trailing Rhode Island (54%); Mississippi (39%); Georgia (24%); and Arkansas (14%).
Nationally, however, foreclosure starts reached a record low. Lenders started the foreclosure process on 335,985 U.S. properties in 2019, down 9% from 2018 to a new all-time low going back as far as foreclosure start data is available—2006.
Moreover, foreclosure filings—including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—were reported on 493,066 U.S. properties in 2019, down 21% from 2018 and down 83% from a peak of nearly 2.9 million in 2010 to the lowest level since tracking began in 2005.
Experts say the continued decline in distressed properties points to a much-improved housing market, but note there is “some reason for concern about the potential for a change in the wrong direction,” given that residential foreclosure starts increased in about one-third of the nation’s metro housing markets in 2019. Check out the report.