If you’ve been following the news recently, you might have seen articles about increases in foreclosures and bankruptcies. That could make you feel uneasy, especially if you’re thinking about buying or selling a house.
But the truth is, even though the numbers are going up, the data shows the housing market isn’t headed for a crisis.
Foreclosure Activity Rising, but Less Than Headlines Suggest
In recent years, the number of foreclosures has been very low. That’s because, in 2020 and 2021, the forbearance program and other relief options were implemented to help many homeowners stay home during that tough time.
When the moratorium ended, there was an expected rise in foreclosures. But just because they’re up, that doesn’t mean the housing market is in trouble.
To help you see how much things have changed since the housing crash in 2008, check out the graph below using research from ATTOM, a property data provider. It looks at properties with a foreclosure filing going back to 2005 to show that there have been fewer foreclosures since the crash.
As you can see, foreclosure filings are inching back up to pre-pandemic numbers, but they’re still way lower than when the housing market crashed in 2008. Today, the tremendous amount of equity American homeowners have in their homes can help people sell and avoid foreclosure.
The Increase in Bankruptcies Isn’t Dramatic Either
As you can see below, the financial trouble many industries and small businesses felt during the pandemic didn’t cause a dramatic increase in bankruptcies. Still, the number of bankruptcies has gone up slightly since last year, nearly returning to 2021 levels. But that isn’t cause for alarm.
The numbers for 2021 and 2022 were lower than more typical years. That’s partly because the government provided trillions of dollars to aid individuals and businesses during the pandemic. So, let’s instead focus on the bar for this year and compare it to the bar on the far left (2019). It shows the number of bankruptcies today is still nowhere near where it was before the pandemic. These two factors are why the housing market isn’t in danger of crashing.
Right now, it’s crucial to understand the data. Foreclosures and bankruptcies are rising, but these leading indicators aren’t signaling trouble that would cause another crash.
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