Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The sunset of REO's, and the move toward short sales.

Below is an excerpt from our friends over at the Cromford Report, which talks about the Phoenix housing market trending away from foreclosures, and toward short sales. Moreover, I recently heard from a friend who attended the largest REO conference in the nation, that ALL the big players are positioning themselves to do more short sales, and fewer foreclosures in 2012 and beyond.

Why? Because short sales are generally better for everyone involved. As I've been preaching since 2006 - win-win-win-win.

From Cromford Report October 2011 Housing Update:

REOs are losing market share very quickly now. Fewer trustee sales are taking place. There were 2,689 residential trustee sales in Maricopa County during September 2011, 44% fewer than the 4,808 of September 2010. In addition a larger percentage of these auctions are now won by third parties (42% in September 2011 versus 20% a year ago). So the quantity of homes reverting to the beneficiary is dropping extremely fast. Only 1,280 single family homes went back to the lenders in Maricopa County in September 2011. This is the lowest total since November 2007. It is also 61% lower than the 3,289 that they received in September 2010. They are selling far more than this number through ARMLS each month and so the lenders' inventory is being rapidly depleted.

It is a clear sign of the strength and dominance of negative sentiment that this remarkable turn round is mostly overlooked. At the same time, a completely irrelevant increase in foreclosures between July and August (due entirely to August having 23 trustee sale days instead of July's 20) managed to make headlines in the local papers. When bad news is amplified like this and good news is ignored we know sentiment has swung too far.

For the housing doom fans who like foreclosures, September 2011 was a pretty dismal month. There were a total of 4,544 new notices issued in Maricopa County of which 4,335 were residential. This is 39% lower than September 2010. This new number is actually slightly higher than April through July 2011, but 15% lower than last month and lower than every month prior to April until we get all the way back to December 2007. The downward trend has slowed but remains in place. The bigger news is that there were only 2,840 trustee sales of all property types. This is 44% down from September 2010. This is also the lowest number since March 2008 (except for November 2010 when Bank of America completely halted its trustee sales). Foreclosures are clearly well past their peak and the short sale is looking likely to overtake the foreclosure in the coming months as the primary mechanism to resolve homeowners' financial distress.

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