Feature Release: Pre-foreclosure Data
Tolemi is excited to announce that we now can provide pre-foreclosure data from across the country to our partner cities. Available as an add-on to BuildingBlocks, cities can identify properties as they enter the foreclosure process in order to connect home owners with valuable resources. We recently released a case study detailing how Erie County, NY and the Western New York Law Center have done just that.
Why is this data important?
In the decade following the 2008 housing crisis, nearly 7.8M homes were foreclosed across the country. The combination of more homes for sale and less people who could afford them suppressed home values in struggling communities. Sensing an opportunity, between 2011 and 2017, large-scale investors spent more than $36B purchasing homes in struggling markets. Over the 18 month period from January 2011 and June 2012 institutional investors bought almost 90% of properties sold in one Atlanta zip code. How such a transfer of ownership would play out was hotly debated at the time. Would deeper pockets and professionalized management mean more affordable and better run rental properties or would bankers viewing housing as lines on a spreadsheet while sitting thousands of miles away result in mismanaged and less affordable housing. The answers are clearer today. Tenets are impacted with large annual rent increases, unexpected fees, habitability issues and a high rate of evictions.
As the CARES Act’s foreclosure protections expire this winter, cities are scrambling to set up early warning systems to identify owners at risk of foreclosure in order to connect homeowners with the legal and financial assistance they need to weather the storm. Unfortunately, many cities don’t have reliable access to pre-foreclosure data.
Additionally, foreclosure prevention activities shouldn’t be entirely owner occupied focused. We’ve written previously about the importance of Mom-and-Pop Landlords who are likely to be facing significant financial pain. Combining pre-foreclosure data with other important factors such as tax status, utility payments, assessment data, and code violations can identify financially struggling Mom-and-Pop landlords. Using this data city staff can direct resources to help keep naturally occurring affordable housing, NOAH, safe through these difficult times.