Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Appraisers, Dust Off the Crystal Ball - UPDATED - Realty Trac Release

Scroll down for UPDATE

Although residential real estate markets are local, granular and segmented, they are most certainly subject to national events and circumstances. These days, appraisers' clients are looking for an explanation of the condition of the current market in the appraisal report, and are less interested in reading about what "has happened in the area.

Here's a couple of articles with a national view. It might be wise to consider the implications in your local market.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Banks Plans for Foreclosed Homes Will Drive Market


The speed at which house prices fall over the next few months could depend less on mortgage rates and Americans' appetite for home buying than on how banks decide to manage the huge number of foreclosed homes they own or may take from delinquent borrowers in the near future.


Unlike home owners, banks often are much quicker to slash prices to unload properties quickly.


The upshot is that, the more homes being sold by lenders, the faster prices tend to fall. That pattern was clear over the past two years: Price declines that began four years ago accelerated rapidly in 2008 as banks dumped foreclosed properties at fire-sale prices. By January 2009, the share of distressed sales had soared to 45% of all sales nationally; it was even higher in hard-hit markets such as Phoenix, according to analysts at Barclays Capital.
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The Home Affordable Modification Program has fallen short of its goals. So far, fewer than 500,000 loans have been modified, below the target of three million to four million. Yet the program served as a "closet moratorium" on foreclosures that stanched the flow of bank-owned homes to the market, said Ronald Temple, portfolio manager at Lazard Asset Management.


The result: The share of distressed sales fell by November to 25% of home sales, and prices stabilized. After rising in the winter, the distressed share fell to 22% in June, before bouncing to 30% in July.


The problem is that these measures are wearing off. Demand plunged this summer after tax credits expired, and unsold homes are piling up. More foreclosures could move onto the market as borrowers fall out of the loan-modification program.


"We see the perfect storm brewing with rising supply and falling demand," said Ivy Zelman, chief executive of research firm Zelman & Associates and one of the first to warn of trouble five years ago. She estimated that distressed sales could account for half of the market by year-end if traditional sales didn't rebound

Read it all HERE.

And from the Huffington Post?:
Home Prices Set to Fall Further


Speaking at the Barclays Capital 2010 Global Financial Services Conference, Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank was pessimistic about the housing market and about consumer demand -- but optimistic about his bank's prospects.


Fairbank, in remarks that were broadcast on the web, was asked by an audience member whether there will be a double-dip in the housing market. He chose his words carefully. "I think we feel very cautious about the housing market," Fairbank said. "I think that even despite some of the recent months where home prices have gone up, I think it's a very plausible case for home prices to go back down again."

Full article HERE.


It would be wise to pay close attention to changes in housing supply in your local market, as well as the source of that supply.

Be careful out there.

UPDATE - Realty Trac News Release: Foreclosure Activity Increases 4 Percent in August

It looks like the Crystal Ball was working. In a press release, Realty Trac notes:
“The trend lines of decreasing default notices and increasing bank repossessions converged in August, with virtually the same number of new default notices and bank repossessions for the month — a clear indication that the clogged foreclosure pipeline is being carefully managed on both ends by lenders and servicers,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “On the front end, seriously delinquent loans are rolling into foreclosure at an unusually slow rate, while on the back end the dammed-up inventory of properties already in foreclosure is moving to REO in steady stream rather than a flood — presumably to prevent further erosion of home prices.”
Full release HERE.

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