DURHAM – Foreclosures are surging in the Triangle as programs designed for homeowners to avoid foreclosure during COVID-19 have begun to end, a new report shows.

Foreclosures are up 150% in Durham County and 66.67% in Wake County from the previous quarter, information from ATTOM Data Solutions shows.

That’s compared to the national average of a 34% increase quarter-over-quarter.

Nationally, foreclosures increased by nearly 68% compared to the same period in 2020, the report from ATTOM Data Solutions found.

There is a silver lining, noted Rick Sharga, executive vice president at RealtyTrac, an ATTOM company, in a statement releasing the report. The total number of foreclosures in the United States remains “still far below historically normal numbers,” Sharga said.

Excluding the pandemic year of 2020, a look at 2019 and 2021 information reflects Sharga’s observation.

In Durham County in the third quarter of 2019 there were 130 foreclosures. In the same period in 2021, there were 45.

Including Chapel Hill, 59 foreclosures took place in the Durham-Chapel Hill metro area.

In Wake County, in the third quarter of 2019, there were 398 foreclosures, compared to 70 foreclosures in Wake County in the same period in 2021. Of those, 98 were in Raleigh-Cary.

Nationally, ATTOM reported that there were a total of 19,609 properties with foreclosure filings, also called foreclosure starts, in September 2021, up 24% from August 2021 and up 102 percent from September 2020.

Charlotte numbers down, NC numbers up

But in Charlotte, foreclosure starts actually declined by 32%, contrary to the national average, which placed the city first in terms of cities with more than one million residents where foreclosure starts declined.

In North Carolina, there were 1,293 foreclosure filings in the third quarter compared with 1,061 filings in the second quarter, an increase of 21.87%. Compared to the third quarter of 2020, the data set showed an increase of 30.47% in foreclosures on properties located in North Carolina.

Foreclosures surge nearly 20% in NC in August after COVID moratorium ended

The data set shared with WRAL TechWire tracks foreclosures across the state of North Carolina, including:

  • 272 in the Charlotte metropolitan statistical area
  • 112 in the Greensboro-High Point metropolitan statistical area, which includes Guilford, Randolph, and Rockingham counties
  • 98 in the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan statistical area, which includes Wake, Johnston and Franklin counties
  • 93 in the Fayetteville metropolitan statistical area, which includes Cumberland and Hoke counties
  • 80 in the Winston-Salem metropolitan statistical area, which includes Forsyth, Davidson, Davie, Stokes and Yadkin counties
  • 59 in the Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan statistical area, which includes Durham, Orange, Chatham and Person counties
  • 55 in the Jacksonville metropolitan statistical area, Onslow County
  • 39 in the Wilmington metropolitan statistical area, which includes New Hanover and Pender counties
  • 32 in the Asheville metropolitan statistical area, which includes Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties

But those numbers could increase, Sharga warned. He noted the possibility of three “small waves” of foreclosure activity in an interview with WRAL TechWire.  That includes this fall, then one in the first quarter of 2022, and another in the summer of 2022.

“So far the government and the mortgage industry have worked together to do an extraordinary job of preventing millions of unnecessary foreclosures using the foreclosure moratorium and mortgage forbearance program,” Sharga said.  “But there are hundreds of thousands of borrowers scheduled to exit forbearance in the next two months, and it’s possible that we might see a higher percentage of those borrowers default on their loans.”