New Hampshire ranks 38th, lowest in New England in new national foreclosure survey

At 3.14%, state had 12th lowest rate of delinquencies in U.S.

Foreclosure CompassNew Hampshire ranks in the lower third among states in a new survey that measures a post-pandemic uptick in foreclosure activity nationwide.

While some states – Illinois, New Jersey and Ohio – had the highest rates of foreclosures in the first six months of 2022, the Granite State ranked 38th, according to a report from ATTOM, which compiles and analyzes real estate data nationwide.

“Foreclosure activity across the United States continued its slow, steady climb back to pre-pandemic levels in the first half of 2022,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM. “While overall foreclosure activity is still running significantly below historic averages, the dramatic increase in foreclosure starts suggests that we may be back to normal levels by sometime in early 2023.”

The report comes as New Hampshire once again recorded record-level median sales prices for single-family homes and residential condominiums in June, a condition that also had a dampening effect on the state’s affordability index.

ATTOM noted there were a total of 164,581 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions — in the first six months of 2022, up 153 percent from the same period a year ago but down just 1 percent from the same time period two years ago.

ATTOM measured foreclosure by taking the total number of properties with filings as a percentage of total housing units.

Illinois had the highest foreclosure rating — 14,086 properties with filings, representing 0.26 percent of total housing units. New Jersey was second — 9,177 filings, representing 0.2 percent of total housing. Ohio was third — 11,028 filings, 0.21 percent of total housing.

New Hampshire – at No. 38 – had 401 filings, just 0.06 percent of total housing. That’s a 121.55 percent jump from the same six-month period last year, but 2.67 percent less than pre-pandemic January-June 2020.

South Dakota was at the bottom of the list – just 41 filings, 0.01 percent of total housing.

Direct stimulus payments from the federal government, as well as forgiveness programs from lenders, helped homeowners get through the worst of the pandemic.

In its June 2022 Housing Market Report, the NH Housing Finance Authority noted: “The number of foreclosures in New Hampshire remains low. The state’s moratorium on foreclosures ended in July 2020, but the CARES Act extended forbearance protection through June 30, 2022. A forbearance temporarily suspends or reduces mortgage payments for federally backed mortgages.”

According to NH Housing, in the first quarter of 2022, the state had the lowest rate of mortgage delinquencies (3.14 percent) compared to other New England states. The state had the 12th lowest rate of delinquencies in the U.S. (Washington state had the lowest, at 2.29 percent) in the quarter.

ATTOM noted that numbers it analyzed were largely holdovers from before the pandemic.

“It’s important to note that many of the foreclosure starts we’re seeing today – in fact, much of the overall foreclosure activity we’re seeing right now – is on loans that were either already in foreclosure or were more than 120 days delinquent prior to the pandemic,” Sharga added. “Many of these loans were protected by the government’s foreclosure moratorium, or they would have already been foreclosed on two years ago. There’s very little delinquency or default activity that’s truly new in the numbers we’re tracking.”

In its June report, the NH Association of Realtors reported that, for the second month in a row, the median price of a single-family home in the state stood at a record-breaking $460,000. Meanwhile, according to the data, the median price of a residential condominium reached an all-time high of $352,500.

The affordability index – a measure of an average person’s ability to purchase a house in a particular region, based on housing prices and income in that region – also sunk to a new low in New Hampshire.

A value of 100 on the index means a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home. An index of less than 100 means the property in a particular area is less affordable.

New Hampshire’s affordability index for a single-family home was 70 in June, the worst it’s ever been. The affordability index for a condo was somewhat better, at 92, but was still on the decline.

“With monthly mortgage payments up more than 50 percent compared to this time last year, the rising costs of homeownership have sidelined many prospective buyers,” the NHAR said.

Rockingham County, as it has for the past many months, continues to rank as the priciest region in which to buy a single-family home, according to the NHAR June data.

The median price there rose to a new high of $605,000, 18.7 percent more than it was a year ago. A distant second to Rockingham was Hillsborough ($494,100), followed by Strafford ($435,000) Merrimack ($421,500), Carroll ($408,750), Grafton ($404,000), Belknap ($402,500), Cheshire ($325,000), Sullivan ($300,000) and Coos ($230,000).

Within Rockingham County, the Seacoast region continued to be a red hot market.

There, the median monthly sale price for a house set a new record for any month at $750,000, according to data from the Seacoast Board of Realtors. That median price hike was fueled with the help of 28 home sales of $1 million or more, also a new record.

“Despite financial uncertainty all around us, our real estate market continues to perform very well,” said Seacoast Board of Realtors President Jessica Ritchie, a broker at Great Island Realty in Portsmouth. “We continue to see signs of strong consumer confidence—especially as manifested in high end sales.”

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