Saturday, April 28, 2012


The key word is MAY.

Many economists see the easing of foreclosures as the key reason the market may be on the rise.  However, they note, “Banks still retain many foreclosed properties on their books and some analysts have predicted that housing prices could weaken again if lenders dump these properties into the recovering market.”

Lowe’s Daily Real Estate Report for first three months of 2012 says, “Foreclosure filings up in most markets.” This was for more than half of the markets tracked by RealtyTrac, “an early sign that long-dormant foreclosures are coming out of hibernation in many local markets.”

The foreclosures referred to above are only part of the shadow inventory, and more people who are “underwater” may do short sales or be foreclosed on in the near future.  Ris Media points out that one of several factors holding back a major turnaround in the housing market is, “the huge number of homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth leaving them essentially stuck in their properties.” 

One good sign is that Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Index of 20 US cities shows the steady shrinking in recent months of a year-over-year decline in home values.  Ris Media says, “analysts note that prices have stablizied and sales volume has been gaining.

DataQuick of San Diego reported that, “statewide the notices of default had a 17.6% drop from the same period last year.”  One of the early callers of the housing crash, Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics said, “What are important are sales and inventory, and those are pointing in the right direction… I would say that by the end of the year, they should translate into better prices.”  As reported in this blog recently, NAR Chief Economist said that by the end of the year prices might rise by 10%.  Zillow predicts a 5%+ price rise by the end of  the year.

Some promising factors for home sales include low interest rates and the availability of bargain-priced properties, and a prevalence of investors buying up, fixing up and renting out former foreclosures.  New home sales, with last year being their worst on record, are up 16% for the first three months compared to 2011.  Now we will wait to see what happens to some or all those shadow inventory foreclosures.

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