The Coronavirus pandemic has now been in effect for eighteen months leading to unprecedented impacts on the housing market and mortgage industry

The onset of the pandemic led to a sharp drop in home sales and delinquencies, while the foreclosure rates had actually decreased due to federal and state policies aimed at supporting homeowners facing economic hardship.

However, recent data indicates that over 18 months, foreclosure risk is not uniform across the United States. Some areas have displayed decreasing rates of foreclosure activity, while others have seen increases. Multiple factors are influencing this disparity, including regional labor markets and different regulations imposed by states and local governments.

In states such as Florida and Texas, foreclosure rates have dropped significantly, thanks to strong employment growth and consumer confidence. These areas are also benefiting from growing economies and real estate markets, greatly reducing the total number of at-risk homes.

Meanwhile, states like Louisiana and Mississippi have seen foreclosure rates climb, which can be partially attributed to their slower economic recoveries. In addition, certain regions of these and other states have experienced a surge in cases of COVID-19, causing further economic disruption. As a result, more homeowners in these areas are experiencing severe financial strain, leading to a rise in delinquency rates and eventually, foreclosures.

The disparity between different parts of the country is creating a two-tiered housing market, with some locations recovering faster than others. This imbalance is causing challenges for some lenders, who must navigate an increasingly complex mortgage landscape. In particular, lenders must determine how to handle borrowers located in states with higher foreclosure rates. It is especially important that lenders do not neglect previously successful borrowers in these high-risk locations, as they may be able to stay current on their payments despite the current economic environment.

Overall, eighteen months into the Coronavirus pandemic, the nation's housing market and foreclosure risks remain varied and unpredictable. Despite federal initiatives to support homeowners, significant differences are apparent between different regions, and lenders must be aware of these inequalities when assessing risk. As the economy continues to rebound, these disparities are likely to persist for some time, requiring continued vigilance from lenders to ensure they are not adversely impacted by the unpredictable nature of the current housing market.

As the Coronavirus pandemic enters its eighteenth month, foreclosure risks have become increasingly varied across the United States. Economic indicators such as employment numbers and consumer confidence are largely responsible for the correlation between regional performance and foreclosure rates, with areas with stronger economic recoveries seeing lower rates of foreclosure activity. By comparison, other regions have lagged behind, with increasing foreclosure rates caused by more challenging labor markets and widespread COVID-19 outbreaks. This two-tiered market is creating obstacles for lenders, who must navigate a complex environment when assessing risk. Overall, the disparities in regional foreclosure activity demonstrate that lenders must remain vigilant and responsive as the housing market continues to evolve amid the pandemic.

This article was contributed on Nov 14, 2023