Foreclosures improve nationally, local markets not so rosy

From MarketWatch:

The number of U.S. properties with foreclosure filings fell 25% in February from a year earlier as U.S. bank reposessions dropped to a 65-month low, according to market researcher RealtyTrac.

There were 154,281 U.S. properties with default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions in February, a 2% increase from January, RealtyTrac reported. One in every 849 U.S. housing units had a foreclosure filing last month.

“At a high level the U.S. foreclosure inferno has been effectively contained and should be reduced to a slow burn in the next two years,” said Vice President Daren Blomquist. “But dangerous foreclosure flare-ups are still popping up in states where foreclosures have been delayed by a lengthy court process or by new legislation making it more difficult to foreclose outside of the court system.”

Mr. Blomquist noted foreclosure starts have been steadily rising in those states over the last several months and likely will end up as bank repossessions or short sales later this year.

Properties starting the foreclosure process also fell 25% in February from a year earlier. U.S. bank reposessions were down 29% on a year-over-year basis to its lowest level since September 2007.

Florida posted the highest foreclosure rate among all states for the sixth month in a row. One in every 282 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing last month–more than three times the national average. Nevada and Illinois again had the second- and third-highest foreclosure rates, respectively.

This entry was posted in Economics, Foreclosures, National Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Foreclosures improve nationally, local markets not so rosy

  1. grim says:

    From RealtyTrac:


    U.S. foreclosure starts increased 10 percent from the previous month after three consecutive monthly decreases, but were still down 25 percent from February 2012.

    Foreclosure starts increased from the previous month in 32 states and were up from a year ago in 16 states, including Nevada (up 334 percent), Maryland (up 319 percent), Washington (up 172 percent), New York (up 139 percent), and New Jersey (up 70 percent).

    (The 70% number for NJ is more impressive as a percentage increase than a unit increase, as the number of foreclosures last year was very low)

  2. grim says:

    More on our analysis of the Washington DC case study.

    Looks like sellers are hitting the market again in DC, as home prices hit all-time highs in the region. Still too early to tell whether or not the uptick in inventory will put a damper on growth in home prices in the area.

    Sellers are returning to Washington housing market

    Spring is not the only thing returning to the Washington region this month. Home sellers appear to be coming back as well.

    New listings increased more than 13 percent across all property segments in February compared with the previous month, according to a report released Monday by RealEstate Business Intelligence and the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis.

    The uptick in homes for sale is a welcome sign in a housing market that has been as dormant the past several months as the area’s flowers and trees. Threats of the fiscal cliff and sequestration coupled with many homeowners owing more than their homes are worth led to months of historically low inventory.

    Now as home values steadily rise, more sellers are starting to come off the sidelines. The median sales price climbed to $355,000 in February, a 3.4 percent increase over January and an 11.7 percent increase from February 2012. Single-family detached homes showed the biggest price gains compared to townhouses and condominiums. Their median price grew by $72,000, a 19.5 percent increase from February 2012.

    The average sale-to-list price ratio swelled to its highest percentage since June 2006, increasing to 97.1 percent.

  3. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  4. grim says:

    From FHFA:

    HARP Refinances Surpass 2012 Estimates

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today released its December 2012 Refinance Report, which shows that with the number of mortgages refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) in the fourth quarter, nearly
    1.1 million HARP refinances were completed in 2012 and nearly 2.2 million were completed since HARP was implemented in April 2009. The 2012 HARP performance surpassed previous estimates for the program.

  5. grim says:

    27,678 HARP refis in NJ last year, just for comparison, 140k GSE mortgage holders in NJ refinanced in 2012:

    80-105 LTV – 18,376
    105-125 LTV – 6,666 (Went into effect Fall, 2011)
    125+ LTV – 2,636 (Went into effect June 1, 2012)

    Inception to Date

    80-105 LTV – 54,633 (the majority of these are closer to the 105 than the 80)
    105-125 LTV – 8,899
    125+ LTV – 2,636
    Total – 66,168

  6. grim says:

    After April 1, when the NJ law regarding summary judgement on abandoned foreclosures goes live, we’re going to see NJ’s foreclosure rate go up, no surprises there.

    Going to see some heavy inventory coming out of Camden, Trenton, Newark, Irvington, Oranges, Plainfield, Paterson, etc. Secondarily, we’ll see South Jersey, Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton and Atlantic City-Hammonton MSAs.

    That’s the good news. If we can pump these through there is a very good chance of seeing NJ’s “foreclosure backlog/shadow inventory” fall dramatically (as the vast majority of foreclosure properties in NJ are in areas like the ones I mention above).

    The bad news is that there is a very high probability the new legislation gets challenged and temporarily suspended. I put this at about 50% probability. If there is a single incident where a property was summarily judged and sold in error, the probability immediately goes to 100% and the program halted. There is room for error here.

  7. grim says:

    A big yawner from Law360… MERS suits? That’s so 2011.

    Banking Giants Hit With Fraudulent Foreclosure Suit In NJ

    Nearly 100 foreclosed-upon homeowners accused Bank of America NA, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo Bank NA and other lenders of fraudulently originating or servicing mortgages through a controversial nationwide electronic mortgage tracking system, according to a recent New Jersey state court suit.

  8. grim says:

    Weekly jobless claims in at 332k, way under the 350k expected. 4 week average down to 346,750. These numbers are now sitting near 5 year lows.

    From Calculated Risk:

    As you look at that chart realize that it is not adjusted for population growth, between 2000 and 2010, there was a 9.7% increase in US population. Now, this would be tempered by a decrease in the participation rate, but the net would be a greater number of workers, which would suggest adjustments might be in order if comparing periods of economic prosperity/recession separated by large gaps in time.

  9. Painhrtz - Doc Daneeka says:

    Grim ten apartment tenaments all the rage for investors again then? Nothing like those section 8 checks rolling in. Had a bud whose family got rich off of them in Passaic would charge a high rate get teh tennants to the section 8 max, only collect the section 8 check and never collect anything from the tennant. his dads words they get a place to live with heat and water, iIget a check they can’t complain about the place because then I rat them out to section 8 board and they lose big screen TV and Cable. He was old school eastern European.

  10. Juice Box says:

    Question realtor says I can only see a newly listed short sale on wednedays between 11am -1 pm. This house was listed a few times over the last few years then went FSBO and now is relisted.

    Any advise?

  11. Juice Box says:

    #8 – Perhaps a class action Grim to shakedown the banks. ONLY THE LAYWERS
    will get anything the homeowner s will get coupons for moving trucks.

  12. yome says:

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A bill aiming to spur substantive reform of the government’s role in housing finance was introduced Thursday by a bipartisan group of senators. The “Jumpstart GSE Reform Act” would prevent Congress from using any increase in certain fees charged by mortgage buyers Fannie Mae FNMA +0.34% and Freddie Mac FMCC +0.44% to offset other government spending. In addition, the U.S. Department of the Treasury would be prohibited from selling its preferred shares in Fannie and Freddie without an OK from Congress and structural housing finance reform. Critics say that Congress and the administration have been too slow on reforming Fannie and Freddie, with many concerned about partisan discord preventing meaningful progress in the near term. The GSE bill, backed by Democrats and Republicans, aims to jump-start the reform process. “We know our housing finance system is not sustainable in its current form, and this legislation will keep us on a path to accomplish real reforms. We believe that as we transition Fannie and Freddie out of their present roles, we need to think about the system in its entirety,” said Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat of Virginia and one of the bill’s sponsors. The other Democrat sponsor is Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The bill’s Republican sponsors are Bob Corker of Tennessee and David Vitter of Louisiana. All of the sponsors are on the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee

  13. chicagofinance says:

    grim: did you get my 3″x 2″ acknowledgement?

  14. JJ says:

    what is the interest rate on a HARP refinance?

  15. Young Buck says:

    Coming soon… RIBS – Rental Income Backed Securities, triple A rated of course

    Blackstone Expands Loan Pact to Invest in Single-Family Homes

    Updated March 13, 2013, 4:05 p.m. ET

    Blackstone Group LP BX +0.98%borrowed $2 billion from banks to invest in single-family homes it intends to rent out, according to people familiar with the loan, as the private-equity firm races to capitalize on an improving housing market.

    Blackstone’s agreement with Deutsche Bank, DBK.XE +2.09%Bank of America Corp., BAC +1.08%Credit Suisse Group AG and other lenders more than tripled the size of its previous loan, to $2.08 billion from $600 million, a person familiar with the deal said. Deutsche, which had arranged Blackstone’s initial accord, will remain the lead bank on the bigger loan.

    Private-equity firms such as Colony Capital LLC and real-estate investment firm Waypoint Real Estate Group LLC have snapped up thousands of previously foreclosed homes in recent months to rent out as part of a strategy to take advantage of the recovery of the housing market.

    In seeking debt financing, investors such as Blackstone can amass more properties, faster and at lower costs. Bankers say a developing loan market may also pave the way for the creation of securities backed by the rental income investors earn on the properties they own. Those deals would in turn help investors finance even more purchases.

    The Blackstone loan remains the largest debt deal for an investor in formerly foreclosed homes, bankers said.

    The size of the loan and the number of banks involved in the deal highlights Wall Street’s growing comfort with the asset class, which has attracted major institutional investors in the past two or so years. The market had been dominated for decades by “mom and pop” investors who would buy up several homes to then rent out.

    Blackstone has said it is buying single-family homes at the rate of $100 million a week, a faster pace than any other buyer. The firm now owns around 20,000 homes, say people familiar with the matter.

    The firm expects to spend more than $4 billion on homes, and could seek additional loans related to fund these purchases, these people said.

    Blackstone intends to end its buying binge by the end of this year. With housing prices on the rebound, particularly in Western markets like Phoenix and southern California, the firm predicts homes could soon turn expensive.

    Blackstone has been relying on its $13.3 billion real-estate fund, the largest property fund ever raised, to dominate the single-family home market after other buyers got off to a faster start. Colony Capital, also a major player in the market, owns about 8,000 homes.

    Goldman Sachs Group Inc., GS +1.17%OneWest Bank, Travelers Cos. TRV +0.77%unit St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co., and J.P. Morgan Chase JPM +1.13%& Co. also joined the loan agreement lead by Deutsche, the person familiar with the loan said.

    Bank of America is in talks to lend additional funds to up to five firms within the next two months, according to a person familiar with the bank’s strategy. Those loans are expected to be hundreds of millions of dollars each, the person added.

    Bankers say they are working toward a possible securitization deal as soon as this summer. Other bankers say the securitization market may develop more slowly and they say they expect a deal to be available for investors in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

    Bankers say they hope to have the deals rated by some of the major credit-rating firms. A rating would expand the amount of investors that could purchase the deal.

    Bloomberg News reported the Blackstone loan agreement’s expansion earlier today.

  16. grim says:

    13 – We did, thanks, did you not get the silly baby picture? I thought my wife sent to the RB office address, but she could have sent it to a wrong home address. I know she was sleuthing to find your MT home address but couldn’t find the house number.

  17. JJ says:

    Realtor Electrolux Techniques.

    I notice on my offer the realtor now is pushing me for a home inspection, pushing me to have my lawyer review documents etc. I think it is a sales same almost, the more you have invested in something the less reason you have to walk away.

    My lawyer charges me to review stuff like the offering plan and financials. Meanwhile I looked at them and they tell me squat. Home Inspection is going to tell me squat.

    What it will do is give me an emotional commitment to not back out.

    Realtors are not well equip to sell homes. You sell homes, by pricing them cheap, take a non-refundable downpayment and close quick.

    The whole realtor process is an insane business model.

    Imagine my sale of my used car. I get the highest person, I get cash in my hand asap, push them not to take car to mechanic, push them to put their own plates on car, or I drive car to their house and get it over before they change their mind.

    Now picture a realtor selling cars. Lets have our lawyers look over contracts, money into escrow, contingency clauses, inspections, it is crazy.

    When I bought my place through RTC I had like 60 seconds to decide, no lawyer, I gave them 10% non-refundable, no home inspection, no contingent upon a mortgage, BOOOOOOOOOMMMMM SOLD. If realtors got a flat fee. They would be more effective. BOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM housing crisis solved.

  18. Essex says:

    Part of me thinks it is time to “test” market the house. Just invested in fresh paint with the requesite neutral living room color. Really wondering if we do a call to realtors to set up a “viewing”….advice?

  19. yome says:

    #14 jj

    I did a 15 year 3% no cost HARP Refi last year.Even the Notary and Fedex is free. I heard you can get 15 year at 2.6 at the lowest

  20. Anon E. Moose says:

    Grim [7];

    You have a Law360 subscription?

  21. yome says:

    You dont have to be underwater to qualify.Only requirement is you are current and I forgot the FICO score needed.

  22. grim says:

    18 – Selling your place?

  23. joyce says:


    “no cost” … to you

    “free” … for you

  24. yome says:

    Billy Joel accompanied by Vanderbilt Student

  25. yome says:

    Joyce is there a cost to you?

  26. Anon E. Moose says:

    Yo [25];

    Nothing is free — someone has to pay for it. I’m hardly surprised that this fact escapes you.

    The one paying may even be you, but you just don’t realize it.

  27. yome says:

    I know that.I was asking joyce if she had to pay when she did her refi

  28. joyce says:


    Once again, you’re on the ball. Who said I refi-ed anything?

  29. Anon E. Moose says:

    JJ [17];

    If I could get the RTC price, I might have considered buying that way. Given the sellers still demand bubbly, peak and retail numbers, I expect the full service that comes with it.

  30. JJ says:

    But they don’t give you full service. Realtors treat buyers like dirt yet they pay their commission.

    I like that scene in Californication where he takes a fully loaded Porsche out for spin at dealership with hot saleslady. They parked the car and hot saleslady goes what do I need to close the deal today? David Dulcahy looks down at this Johnson and smiles, saleslady pulls down zipper blows him and as she is wiping her chin goes congratulations on your new porsche.

    Realtors need to follow that business model. Some say Realtors suck, I say they should suck.

    Anon E. Moose says:
    March 14, 2013 at 10:39 am

    JJ [17];

    If I could get the RTC price, I might have considered buying that way. Given the sellers still demand bubbly, peak and retail numbers, I expect the full service that comes with it.

  31. Richard says:

    Realtors in the US are running a great scam. Most countries dont have buying agents and the selling agent charges 2-3%. In the UK I heard its more like 1-1.5%.

    The 6% cut is a joke, esp in the current internet age.

  32. Brian says:

    Grim….Young people moving to urban centers???

    The Bronx is up — and the Battery’s up! In fact, city population is booming to its highest number ever

  33. grim says:

    The only time you see 6% these days is on a short sale or foreclosure, where the bank is picking up the tab.

    In reality, 5% has been the new 6% for years now.

    It’s actually pretty common to see 4 and 4.5% listings these days (2/2, 2.25/2.25).

    Europe/UK/Global RE markets work very differently, in many cases there is little to no broker cooperation. You’ll need to go office to office to see what is available. If you are working with an agent, you’ll only be shown properties listed by that agency. I believe if you are working from outside of the country and using a single agent, you’ll be paying that broker fee as a buyer, where the seller will be paying the fee to the selling agency (which would be somewhere around 3-3.5% in a major UK metro adding up both sides). I could be wrong, this all came from one conversation I had with a broker out in UK last year. But yes, it’s typically closer to 1.5% in many places.

    Realize that the agent himself/herself, is making a similar same amount of money. The difference in the US, is that 4 people are paid instead of 2 people – Sellers Brokerage – Sellers Agent – Buyers Brokerage – Buyers Agent.

  34. Richard says:

    To save 2% on the price of the home I’m happy to go broker to broker. Or in the modern world go to more than one website and possibly ring more than one person.

  35. grim says:

    Why pay anything at all? You don’t need to use the Realtor/Agency model. Use Craigslist, use FSBO, go door to door, write a letter, ask around.

  36. grim says:

    Just look to the overwhelming success of Foxtons if you think a lower commission model will be more successful.

    Crash and burn.

    If you’d like to buy one of our office listings, we’d be glad to discuss a reduced commission rate.

  37. Essex says:

    22. Would, Yes!

  38. grim says:

    Upsizing? Didn’t you buy in 2007 or 2008ish?

  39. Richard says:

    JJ is going direct route and I’m pretty certain the realtor is charging the seller 6%

  40. Anon E. Moose says:

    Grim [36];

    Do you think Foxtons (or a discount model generally) might have been collateral damage of the housing bubble? 4%… 5%… 6%… Who cares!?! Sellers sign the listing agreements and sellers were getting rich — meanwhile buyers were getting cheap and easy financing and thought it was all going “To The Moon!” On the way down (back side of the power curve, you might say), when sellers were taking it in the shorts and had to bring their own check to the closing table, maybe a few percent discount would have been more attractive?

  41. JJ says:

    I am the buyer and do not have a buyers broker. I never hired an agent. The seller told me point blank they are charging me extra so they can pay realtors fee.

    I appreciate their honesty, I most likely will still buy the place. But if boils my balls in oil that I have to pay someone a large sum of money I did not hire nor want involved in process.

    Richard says:
    March 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    JJ is going direct route and I’m pretty certain the realtor is charging the seller 6%

  42. grim says:

    40 –

    1) They spent like a bunch drunken dot com sales guys without the revenue to back them.

    2) Buy side agents were doing twice the work for half the commission. They did a really good job training non-Foxtons agents that it was a waste of time to even show their listings.

    3) They tried to use a salaried agent model, which meant their agents were the worst on the market. Why on earth would a successful agent give up commission and go salary? That said, I knew plenty of shitty agents making no commission that were happy to at least get something.

  43. grim says:

    Damn, here is an email I sent to a blog reader back in 2007, this was a couple months before the Foxtons blow up I believe.

    Many had hopes that Foxtons would be able to break into the market and set the precedent for being the low-cost leader. Unfortunately, their business model wasn’t about cutting costs and providing a lower cost option, it was about cutting the commissions they paid out and maximizing their own margins. I don’t even go into the cult-like marketing techniques they used to get agents to move over.

    Actually, Foxtons aside, your complaints would ring true for many agencies in the state. Some of the problem lies in the fact that we’re coming off the biggest boom market we’ve ever seen. Realize, that in a booming market, agents become order takers. They don’t *need* to do anything to sell, the sellers come to them. If a listing was overpriced, and stagnant, a few months of appreciation would bring the market up to the level of the listing, and the home would sell.

    Marketing wasn’t important, all these folks needed to do was get the property on the MLS. The same goes for buyers agents, they had so much demand from buyers that they were able to pick and choose who they wanted to work with.

    For many of these folks, getting the listing is all they ever needed to do to sell. It’s all they know. Get the listing, by any means possible, even if that means promising a price that would never be met. The next part is to list it, and wait for they buyers to rush in.

    We’re in a very different market. We’re back to the old rules of real estate. Veteran agents know how to market in these conditions, but the new agents, they’ll realize they are the chaff soon enough. Foxtons is going to have a difficult time in this new market. The fact that they pay a reduced commission on the buy-side is negative. As a seller, I’m sure you like the option of paying a lower commission. However, realize that buyer’s agents aren’t going to be too thrilled about getting their own commission cut. Not to mention having to do much more legwork with a Foxtons listing.

  44. Libtard in Union says:

    To each their own.

    I went to at least 30 houses with my buying agent over a 3-year period. She also provides us comps every year for our annual tax returns. Additionally, the selling agent was a twerp, didn’t answer her phone and her voicemail was full. On the day of the closing, when we couldn’t get into the house due to the 2 feet of frozen solid snowpack and when we did get in and all of the pipes were frozen, I simply told my agent, “I’ll sign the dotted line when water runs through those pipes again.” When it was all said and done, the total commission was most likely $20,000. I imagine my agent got $10,000. And out of that $10,000, how much went to all of the different little people involved? And without her, I would have never gotten the deal that I did as she was tough as hell with the selling agent. Even tougher than I would have been. In my case, I wouldn’t and couldn’t have done it any other way. You just have to figure out how to get some value out of it. Reading your earlier post, she would probably raise the price on you.

  45. Libtard in Union says:

    Tax returns? I meant appeals. Very busy at work today.

  46. JJ says:

    Realize that the agent himself/herself, is making a similar same amount of money. The difference in the US, is that 4 people are paid instead of 2 people – Sellers Brokerage – Sellers Agent – Buyers Brokerage – Buyers Agent.

    You mean Buyers Agent, Buyer Brokerage, Buyers Brokerage – Buyers Agent

    The seller pays for nothing. When I bought the house I live in I cut a check and the realtor was paid out of my funds. I dont recall seller showing up with any cash

  47. JJ says:

    And out of that $10,000, how much went to all of the different little people involved?

    If it is important to know that the $10,000 you paid went to a lot of different people, please give it to me.

    The whole 10K, will be split up among at least 100 honest hardworking strippers who are putting themselves through school.

  48. grim (8)-

    Lies. All of it.

    There will be gnashing of teeth.

    “Weekly jobless claims in at 332k, way under the 350k expected. 4 week average down to 346,750. These numbers are now sitting near 5 year lows.”

  49. Statler Waldorf says:

    Photo of the day, JCP&L’s 700 pound Death Saw hung from a helicopter to trim trees:

  50. raging bull jj says:

    Realtors are the worst. This stupid realtor keep pushing me to pay full price. She wants full commission. Everything I bring up she is like buyer will fix it, buy will put a new one in, buyer will pay carrying charges of empty unit for an extra three months while you go through long excruitating process to get a mortgage on a building with flood damaage.

    All over 15k. Odd part is she is getting 5%, that is only an extra $750, she gets half which is only $375. Her husband works full time so all in she is in 40% tax bracket which means she only nets an extra $225 bucks.

    Whole section of Freekonomics devoted to realtors, they fight and fight over last 15k. For a lousy $225 bucks. Meanwhile if energy was devoted to selling a new home instead of fighting for last 15K in price they could sell double the homes.

    So they are getting paid almost 50% less each year while they fight over chump change.

    Why they do it I dont know. Only makes me pissed off, if I close I will then bad mouth realtor all over town

  51. chicagofinance says:

    JJ: BOA is going to redeem $5.5B of PREF…..fcuker :(

  52. JJ says:

    I got no Trups but one callable BAC bond at 7%, that baby is getting called. 7% is a high coupon for a “investment grade bank”

    chicagofinance says:
    March 14, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    JJ: BOA is going to redeem $5.5B of PREF…..fcuker :(

    BANK AMER CORP SUB INTNTS BE 7.00000% 08/15/2038 CALL

  53. Stuck in the Brig says:

    Long time lurker here….I need a good source to find the taxes on neighboring properties and comparable sales in preparation for a tax appeal. Union County/Brigadoon. Suggestions?

  54. Statler Waldorf says:

    Doesn’t it only take a few mouse clicks to earn $15K?

    “Everything I bring up she is like buyer will fix it, buy will put a new one in, buyer will pay carrying charges of empty unit for an extra three months while you go through long excruitating process to get a mortgage on a building with flood damage. All over 15k.”

  55. JJ says:

    Actually, in last ten days I have not clicked any buttons but I am way up. Big bull Market.

    Mainly I am planting seeds right now. I am going to go to a cash offer, after I gave an offer that was accepted at a price as if I was getting a mortgage. Owner is sitting on a an empty unit, with Easter/Passover weekend a dead showing weekend by by-passing a 15K discount for Cash over my mortgage contingent offer the owner is starting process all over again in April.

    Remember, you make 100% of your gains on a Real Estate Purchase on the day you purchase property.

    Statler Waldorf says:
    March 14, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Doesn’t it only take a few mouse clicks to earn $15K?

    “Everything I bring up she is like buyer will fix it, buy will put a new one in, buyer will pay carrying charges of empty unit for an extra three months while you go through long excruitating process to get a mortgage on a building with flood damage. All over 15k.”

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