Data released by RealtyTrac reiterated the housing market
being on the road to recovery. The total number of foreclosed
properties sold in the first quarter of 2013 fell 18%
sequentially and 22% from the prior-year quarter to 190,121
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Of the total foreclosed properties sold, 88,750 were at
pre-foreclosure state (down 20% both from the prior quarter and
the year-ago quarter), while 101,371 were bank-owned (down 16%
sequentially and 23% year over year). The primary reasons for the
decline in foreclosed home sales were rebounding home prices,
less number of properties getting foreclosed and low mortgage
rates over the past few quarters.
The sale of pre-foreclosed and bank-owned residential properties
(REO) was 21% of the total residential sale, inching down from
25% in the year-ago quarter. Moreover, Ga. recorded the highest
foreclosed property sales as it accounted for 35% of all
residential home sales, followed by Ill. (32%), Calif. (30%),
Ariz. (28%) and Mich. (28%).
Moreover, these properties were sold at an average price of
$167,095, which was 30% below the average price of a home not in
foreclosure. Further, pre-foreclosed properties were sold within
382 days on an average, after passing through the foreclosure
process, while it took an average of 168 days to sell properties
owned by banks after being foreclosed.
Further, non-foreclosure short sales of properties (accounting
for 15% of all residential sales) plunged 10% from the previous
quarter and 35% from the year-ago quarter. Short sale is a
process where the sales price is below the estimated amount of
all outstanding loans of a property. Given the rise in home
prices, both lenders and underwater homeowners are shying away
from short sale.
The fall in foreclosed home sales also resulted from a decline in
overall foreclosure activities. In addition, mortgage servicers
and the government have been switching to other options to
prevent foreclosures. However, as the major servicers -
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Bank of America Corporation
), Ally Financial Inc. and
Wells Fargo & Company
) - adjust to the new rules set under the National Mortgage
Settlement as well as several other state laws, foreclosure
activity will likely rise in the near-term.
However, home prices across the nation are expected to rebound
driven by modest recovery in economic environment and a fall in
unemployment rate. With the borrowers able to repay their
mortgages, there are chances of lesser number of foreclosed
properties entering the market. This in turn will likely aid the
revival of the housing sector.