Looser lending standards are being blamed for an increase in foreclosures in half of the counties in Northeast Tennessee during the first half of 2018.
Sullivan County, which has the strongest home sales so far this year is also the leading the region in new foreclosures. Most are in Kingsport’s 37660 zip code followed by those in 37620 in Bristol.
According to the June Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) Trends Report, Sullivan County had 972 single-family home resales closings during the first half of this year. That’s 10.6% better than last year. During the same period, there were 165 new foreclosures, up 33.1% from the same period in 2017. Sullivan is also the only county where the year-to-date market share for resales has exceed the county’s 2017 annual market share every month.
ATTOM Data Solutions’ Mid-year Foreclosure Report shows U.S. foreclosures during the first six months of this year were down 15% from last year and 78% lower than a peak during the first six months of 2010. At the same time, the report shows local new foreclosure flare-ups in 26 of the 219 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) analyzed. Locally the number of new foreclosures were up 10% in the Kingsport-Bristol MSA and slightly below last year’s activity in the Johnson City MSA.
The foreclosure status takes on additional clarity in a drill-down to the county level.
A total of 444 Tri-Cities area properties in NE Tenn. started the foreclosure process during the first six months of 2018, up 10.2% last year and down 49% from the first half of 2011. Nationwide new foreclosures, down 8% from the first half of last year and down 82% from the 2009 peak. Another way of looking at it is there were almost six existing home sales every day between Jan. and June and one new foreclosure filing every day.
“Localized foreclosure flare-ups in the first half of 2018 can no longer be blamed on legacy distress left over from the last housing bubble given that nearly half of all active foreclosures are now tied to loans originated in 2009 or later and given that the average time to foreclose plummeted in the first two quarters of the year,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions. “Instead these local foreclosure increases are typically the result of more recent distress triggers in those markets.
We’re also seeing early evidence of gradually loosening lending standards starting in 2014, specifically for FHA-backed loans,” Blomquist added. “The foreclosure rate on FHA loans originated in 2014 and 2015 has now jumped above the average FHA foreclosure rate for all loan vintages — the only two post-recession vintages with foreclosure rates above that overall average.”
Carter, Hawkins, and Washington counties are the only NE Tenn. counties that didn’t see more foreclosures during the first half of this year.
None of the SW Va. counties in the Tri-Cities region had more foreclosures this year than last year.