Real Estate News & Commentary

10 U.S. States & Metro Areas With the Highest Foreclosure Rates

Expertise: Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary
40 Articles Written

In its latest study, RealtyTrac analyzed nationwide foreclosure data for Q1 2016. Their report revealed that 78 of the 216 U.S. markets studied showed first quarter foreclosure activity to be below pre-recession levels.

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“Despite a seasonal bump higher in March, foreclosure activity in most markets continues to trend lower and back toward more healthy, stable levels,” said RealtyTrac senior VP Daren Blomquist.

“More than one-third of the 216 local markets we analyzed were below their pre-recession foreclosure activity averages in the first quarter, and we would expect a growing number of markets to move below that milestone the rest of this year — while the number of markets with a lingering low-grade fever of foreclosure activity continues to shrink.”

A total of 289,116 foreclosure filings — defined as default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported in 2016s first quarter, down 4 percent from the last quarter of 2015 and down 8 percent from a year prior. This quarterly total represents more than a nine-year low (the lowest quarterly total was the fourth quarter of 2006).


Related: Foreclosure News: Fannie Mae Increases Maximum Allowable Days in 33 States

5 Markets With Foreclosure Levels Below Pre-Recession Averages

Of the 216 areas studied with populations of 200,000 or more, 36 percent (or 78 markets) posted foreclosure activity lower than pre-recession averages. These metropolitan areas included:

  1. Los Angeles (27 percent below pre-recession average)
  2. Dallas (65 percent below pre-recession average)
  3. Houston (64 percent below pre-recession average)
  4. Miami (19 percent below pre-recession average)
  5. Atlanta (57 percent below pre-recession average)

5 Markets With Foreclosure Levels Above Pre-Recession Averages

Conversely, 138 major metros (64 percent) of those studied saw foreclosure activity above pre-recession levels. These markets included:

  1. New York (80 percent above pre-recession average)
  2. Chicago (17 percent above pre-recession average)
  3. Philadelphia (97 percent above pre-recession average)
  4. Washington, D.C. metro (134 percent above pre-recession average)
  5. Boston (46 percent above pre-recession average)

10 States and Metro Areas With the Highest Foreclosure Rates

On average, one out of every 459 houses had a foreclosure filing in the first quarter of 2016. States with the highest foreclosure rates were:

  1. Maryland (one in every 194 housing units with a foreclosure filing)
  2. New Jersey (one in every 216 housing units)
  3. Nevada (one in every 236 housing units)
  4. Delaware (one in every 240 housing units)
  5. Florida (one in every 274 housing units)

Other honorable mentions included Illinois, Ohio, South Carolina, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.

Among metro areas studied with populations of at least 200,000, the following ranked highest:

  1. Atlantic City, New Jersey (one in every 106 housing units with a foreclosure filing)
  2. Trenton, New Jersey (one in every 168 housing units)
  3. Baltimore, Maryland (one in every 183 housing units)
  4. Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida (one in every 196 housing units)
  5. Rockford, Illinois (one in every 211 housing units)

Others in the top 10 included Las Vegas, Tampa, Fayetteville, North Carolina, Philadelphia, and Jacksonville, Florida.


March Foreclosure Starts Up From a Year Ago in 20 States

The month of March saw a total of 108,970 foreclosure filings on U.S. properties, which represented an 11 percent increase from February — but a 11 percent decrease from a year ago.

Related: Foreclosures 101: How the Process Works and How Investors Can Profit

March foreclosure starts were up from a year ago in 20 states. These states included:

  1. Connecticut (up 169 percent)
  2. Arizona (up 125 percent)
  3. Delaware (up 78 percent)
  4. Iowa (up 64 percent)
  5. Massachusetts (up 51 percent)

Scheduled auctions for foreclosures also increased from a year ago in 23 states, including:

  1. Massachusetts (up 211 percent)
  2. New York (up 92 percent)
  3. Pennsylvania (up 49 percent)
  4. Maryland (up 43 percent)
  5. South Carolina (up 37 percent)

Regarding these numbers, Blomquist remarked, “Over the last 10 years, U.S. foreclosure activity on average has increased 6 percent from February to March, and the 11 percent increase this year was not far off that typical seasonal bump. February is of course a shorter month, and banks often ramp up foreclosure filings in March to take advantage of the spring selling season — which should prove particularly favorable to banks this year given low inventory levels of homes for sale and continued strong demand from buyers regaining confidence in the housing market.”

Investors: Have you seen foreclosures increase or decrease in your market? 

Leave your comments below!

A career writer, editor and blogger, Allison serves as the Director of Content for In the past, she has channeled her passion and curiosity for all things real estate into her jobs by working in real estate law and heading a blog about real estate market trends. Don’t ask about her dog, Ace, unless you want to see approximately 500 photos of his (adorable) face.

    Dane Franta Financial Management from Overland Park, KS
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Thanks for the share, but I’d appreciate a little more analysis from BP on this article rather than just citation of facts & figures. I’m able to draw some conclusions, but if BP is to be the source for RE investors and provide all this good information BP’s area to “add value” in the form of education would be to help those investors “to-be” or early investors some additional insight on what this article could or should mean to them. This is a common problem I have with things like Fortune or Money magazines are that they offer advice on financial management to the beginners and rarely take things beyond telling people how to get out of debt. I view BP as that conduit through which people can attain a stronger understanding of financial management, investment opportunities, and personal wealth growth (aka Budgeting 211 & 315 vs just a 101 lesson). The community is strong so perhaps some links to recent forum posts on reviewing foreclosure deals, negotiating, dealing with banks, etc. would be a good start to link the ideas together.
    Jacob Pereira Real Estate Agent from Austin, TX
    Replied over 3 years ago
    I have to disagree with Dane on this one. I found it refreshing to see some quality data points without too much skewing to the author’s opinions. We’re free to make our own connections on those markets without having to dig through too much fluff (fluff being the biggest downside to BP, in my opinion). Good to see differing views too, though.
    Replied over 3 years ago
    I’m really surprised that NY has such a high foreclosure rate. Is NY currently in recession?
    Russell Brazil Real Estate Agent from Rockville, MD
    Replied over 3 years ago
    DC Metro, which includes Maryland…being high on the list is no surprise. The reason is that during the financial crisis Maryland enacted legislation that really slowed down the foreclosure process. So we have this huge inventory of REO properties that just trickles to market, which would have been cleared out years ago in other states.