To stem the tide of foreclosure activity, the government may have to continue the aggressive initiatives launched and refined in 2009. With several key anti-foreclosure programs due to expire in early 2010, even more innovative programs will need to be developed. Banks appear poised to move more quickly against loans in default.
November 2009 marked the fourth consecutive month in which foreclosures have shown month-over-month improvement. Foreclosures declined by 8% in November and 18% in year-over-year comparisons. There were 306,627 foreclosure filings in November.
The November foreclosure rate decreased by 3% in October, 4% in September and 1% in August. RealtyTrac CEO, James Saccacio, explained the trend. “Loan modifications and other foreclosure prevention efforts, along with the recently extended and expanded homebuyer tax credit, are keeping a lid on the most visible symptoms of the nation’s ailing housing market, foreclosure and home value depreciation.”
RealtyTrac added additional insight declaring that the housing market would not turn upward without assistance until the unemployment numbers start to fall. A misleading factor in the foreclosure marketplace is legislation implemented by many states requiring lenders to mediate with homeowners in default.
The process has not met with many successful modifications but has simply served to forestall the foreclosure actions. The realty is that many homeowners are discouraged and are walking away from homes to relocate in better job markets. An astonishing 26% of homeowners are underwater.
Foreclosure activity in Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada is the highest in the country. In Florida, one in every 165 homes is in foreclosure. In California one in every 180 homes is in foreclosure. Arizona shows one in every 186 homes while Nevada has one in every 119 homes in foreclosure.
Investors are sharpening their REO presentations and their foreclosure practices. While Florida’s housing market is depressed, the rental market remains fairly strong. This has encouraged a burst in short sales and foreclosure acquisitions from outside sources. When investing in these markets, the strength of the rental market is a significant factor.