RALEIGH – Foreclosures are increasing in North Carolina, including in the Triangle, and the state ranks 18th highest among all U.S. states for its foreclosure rate, according to new data from ATTOM Data Solutions.

But while two North Carolina metropolitan statistical areas rank among the 10 places in the United States where the foreclosure rate throughout 2022 was highest in the country, the two Triangle metropolitan statistical areas remain among the 60 places in the nation where the foreclosure rate is lowest.

In the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan statistical area, there were 794 foreclosure filings in 2022.  That’s one foreclosure filing for every 726 housing units, which ranks 53rd lowest among 223 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas.

But foreclosures in the Raleigh area saw a 148.9% increase compared to the number of filings made in 2021.  Still, the region saw a 50.2% decrease in 2022 compared to data from 2019.

Across the state, there were 9,758 foreclosure filings in 2022 – an increase of 122.6% – according to the ATTOM data set. That’s one filing for every 483 housing units in the state, the 18th highest foreclosure rate of any state in the U.S.

Foreclosures surged in both Fayetteville (746) and Jacksonville (489), up 121% and 124% respectively to rank in the top 10 most heavily hit markets.

The total number of foreclosures in the state is also 22.7% higher than the number of filings in 2020.

That figure remains lower than in every other year between 2005, when the ATTOM data set begins, and 2019.

“Eighteen months after the end of the government’s foreclosure moratorium, and with less than five percent of the 8.4 million borrowers who entered the CARES Act forbearance program remaining, foreclosure activity remains significantly lower than it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM. “It seems clear that government and mortgage industry efforts during the pandemic, coupled with a strong economy, have helped prevent millions of unnecessary foreclosures.”

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Triangle homeowners facing fewer foreclosures than many areas in nation

Similar trends can be found in North Carolina’s most populous metropolitan areas, as well, including the Triangle where foreclosures are on the rise.

Across the Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan statistical area, there were 313 foreclosure filings in 2022.

That’s a ratio of one foreclosure filing for every 824 housing units.  That ranks 37th lowest among the 223 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas in the ATTOM data set, and the lowest foreclosure rate in North Carolina.

Still, foreclosures are 74.9% higher than in 2021 in the Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan statistical area and are 25.2% higher than in 2020.  But in the region, the number of foreclosures in 2022 was 42.7% lower than those filed in 2019 and 51.1% lower than those filed in 2018.

And when owners are facing foreclosure in the Triangle, the majority of them may have other options available to them, other than the property being repossessed by the lender.

“Unlike foreclosure activity during the Great Recession, the majority of homes in foreclosure are not being repossessed by lenders,” Sharga said.

ATTOM data shows that nationally, 93% of borrowers who face foreclosure have positive equity in their property.

"They appear to be leveraging in order to avoid a foreclosure by refinancing their mortgage or selling the property at a profit," said Sharga.  "It seems likely that this is a trend that will continue in 2023.”