Reports indicate foreclosures inching downward
by Matt Shinall
Jan 26, 2012 | 1498 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A residual byproduct of the housing market crash, foreclosures continue to plague homeowners and financial institutions but recent data suggests a positive trend.

Slight improvements can be seen as RealtyTrac, online foreclosure marketplace, released results Wednesday for third quarter 2011. The average price of foreclosures nationwide increased 1 percent over the second quarter, a sign that inventories of foreclosed homes may be shrinking.

With more than 35 years of real estate experience in the Bartow County area, owner of Asher Realty Dan Clark feels foreclosures likely will continue at a relatively strong pace but has noticed a distinct difference in the number of foreclosures on the market.

"There's still a lot of foreclosed property that the banks are still negotiating, but right now the actual number that's on the market is down," Clark said. "I don't think we're going to get back anytime soon to where it was five years ago, but you will see a significant price increase as these foreclosures get off the market."

Cautious in his assessments of the foreclosure market, Clark voiced concern that banks may simply be holding off on releasing property into the market to avoid, for now, another flood of foreclosures.

Giving an example of the drawdown on foreclosures, Clark referenced the noticeable difference in government-owned HUD homes.

"This time last year, there might have been five or six pages of HUD homes and I think there might be one page now," Clark said. "That's just one portion of the foreclosed homes, but I think it's indicative of what we see right now with the number of homes on the market."

RealtyTrac's year-end report, released earlier this month, expressed similar concerns regarding foreclosure activity. The report numbered 2011 foreclosure filings at 2,698,967 -- including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions -- a 34 percent decrease from 2010.

"Foreclosures were in full delay mode in 2011, resulting in a dramatic drop in foreclosure activity for the year," said Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac. "The lack of clarity regarding many of the documentation and legal issues plaguing the foreclosure industry means that we are continuing to see a highly dysfunctional foreclosure process that is inefficiently dealing with delinquent mortgages -- particularly in states with a judicial foreclosure process.

"There were strong signs in the second half of 2011 that lenders are finally beginning to push through some of the delayed foreclosures in select local markets. We expect that trend to continue this year, boosting foreclosure activity for 2012 higher than it was in 2011, though still below the peak of 2010."

For more information on foreclosure data, visit www.realtytrac.com/trendcenter.