First, the good news: in Q1 2018, foreclosures were down 19 percent from a year ago, and 32 percent below the pre-recession average of 278,912 per quarter from Q1 2006 to Q3 2007, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, a national property database.

Its Foreclosure Market Report shows a total of 189,870 properties with a foreclosure filing during Q1 2018. That has actually increased by four percent from the previous quarter.

Here’s where it gets complicated: the report shows a total of 74,341 properties with foreclosure filings in March 2018. That’s an increase of 21 percent from an all-time low in the previous month; however it’s still a decrease of 11 percent from a year ago at the same time. It’s also the 30th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in U.S. foreclosure activity.

A possible explanation of these results, according to Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions:

“Less than half of all active foreclosures are now tied to loans originated during the last housing bubble, one of several data milestones in this report showing that the U.S. housing market has mostly cleared out the backlog of bad loans that triggered the housing and financial crisis nearly a decade ago. Meanwhile we are beginning to see early signs that some post-recession loan vintages are defaulting at a slightly elevated rate, a sign that some loosening of lending standards has occurred in recent years. Consequently, foreclosure starts are trending higher compared to a year ago in an increasing number of local markets — some of which are a bit surprising given the overall strength of housing in those markets.”

According to a recent Experian report, residential home foreclosures fell 27 percent in 2017, to 676,525. That’s the lowest level since 2005.

Black Knight reports that, at 44,900, May 2018 saw the second lowest monthly foreclosure starts in more than 17 years. Just 303,000 mortgages remain in active foreclosure; at 0.59 percent, the national foreclosure rate is now at its lowest point in 15 years. If this trend continues, national foreclosures are expected to meet the pre-recession average in early Q3 2018.

The five states with the highest foreclosure rates, according to RealtyTrac:

New Jersey:  1 in 639 homes

Delaware: 1 in 853 homes

Maryland: 1 in 984 homes

Illinois: 1 in 1,176 homes

Connecticut: 1 in 1,230 homes

The five states with the lowest amount of foreclosures:

South Dakota: 1 in 11,082 homes

North Dakota: 1 in 10,824 homes

Vermont:  1 in 7,176 homes

West Virginia: 1 in 6,384 homes

Montana: 1 in 6,277 homes

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