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Alarming Increase In South Carolina Foreclosures

Palmetto State’s soaring foreclosure rate is America’s highest …

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South Carolina had the highest foreclosure rate in America last month, according to ATTOM – one of the nation’s leading sources of land, property and real estate data. The Palmetto State also showed the highest annual increase in foreclosure rates – an alarming uptick of 51 percent which ran “counter to the national trend.”

Of interest? Neighboring North Carolina and Georgia showed 52 percent and 34 percent reductions in their annual foreclosure rates last month, ranking No. 1 and No. 3 in the nation, respectively.

Things were already looking grim for the Palmetto State on this front. In 2023, South Carolina had the nation’s sixth-worst foreclosure rate – clocking in at 0.38 percent. Its capital city of Columbia also had the nation’s fourth-worst foreclosure rate among municipalities – registering at 0.55 percent.

According to ATTOM’s data, there was one foreclosure for every 4,279 housing units nationwide last month. In South Carolina, however, that number climbed to one for every 2,248 housing units. In Columbia, there was one filing for every 1,478 housing units. South Carolina’s capital city had the worst foreclosure rate last month of any metropolitan statistical area in America, according to ATTOM. Spartanburg and Florence ranked third- and fifth-worst, respectively.

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Foreclosures spiked between 2007-2011 as the sub-prime mortgage crisis hit America. Conversely, they plunged during the Covid-19 pandemic as government instituted emergency measures to facilitate “home retention.” An estimated 16 percent of Americans with mortgage loans availed themselves of government “forbearance” between April 2020 and December 2021, according to a report from the St. Louis Fed.

In South Carolina, an estimated $144 million was doled out to tens of thousands of households by the S.C. State Housing Finance and Development Authority (SCHousing.com) between 2021 and 2023.

Last year was the second consecutive year to show an uptick in foreclosures – although they remain below their pre-Covid levels and well below the unprecedented spikes seen during the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Still, the numbers are not moving in the right direction – especially in South Carolina.

“The annual uptick in U.S. foreclosure activity hints at shifting dynamics within the housing market,” said Rob Barber, ATTOM’s chief executive officer. “These trends could signify evolving financial landscapes for homeowners, prompting adjustments in market strategies and lending practices. We continue to closely monitor these trends to comprehend their complete effect on foreclosure activity.”

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The release of these concerning foreclosure numbers comes as South Carolina’s “Republican” supermajority is debating what to do with an estimated $1.8 billion in newly discovered surplus money. This surplus – exclusively uncovered by our media outlet – could provided a rebate of as much as $1,250 to an estimated 1.44 million South Carolina taxpayers.

So far, lawmakers have yet to say whether they will rebate the $1.8 billion or plow it into the state’s bloated, antiquated bureaucracy – which is set to receive a record $40.1 billion in the latest “Republican” spending plan.

One reason foreclosures could be on the rise in South Carolina is the pervasive anemia of our workforce. According to data released last month, the Palmetto State’s labor participation rate for the month of January stood at a lowly 57.2 percent. That’s the fourth-worst rate in the nation – and puts the Palmetto State more than five percentage points behind the national average of 62.5 percent.

Count on this media outlet to keep our audience in the loop on the latest economic data impacting South Carolina citizens and taxpayers – and to continue pushing state lawmakers to make better decisions when it comes to safeguarding the health of our economy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.

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6 comments

Elephant Graveyard March 19, 2024 at 10:14 am

I know, we’ll just keep electing Republicans! That’ll fix it!

Reply
JustSomeGuy Top fan March 19, 2024 at 12:57 pm

Another reason could be that home prices have outpaced wage growth by a long shot. When your mortgage payment represents a large percentage of your take-home pay, it doesn’t take much of a financial bobble to put you in a bind.

Reply
Nancy Bryson Top fan March 20, 2024 at 7:05 pm

Bingo!

Reply
Joseph Jeter Top fan March 20, 2024 at 6:15 am

Expecting the government to fix this is like trying to catch rain in a colander.

Reply
Barbara Huckaby Top fan March 26, 2024 at 7:13 pm

People can’t pay for their houses because their pay hasn’t gone up with the price of housing and everything else. SC pays their workers the bare minimum, and that’s exactly how our politicians want to keep it because they have to appease the business owners and corporations. Duh

Reply
River Top fan April 5, 2024 at 4:10 pm

If you can’t buy it twice then you can’t afford it.

Reply

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