Bank Foreclosures 2007, Trend, Statistics, Opportunities

By: Bob Smith

Recently released reports from ForeclosureDatabank.com, an extensive foreclosure listings database with around one million foreclosed properties on file, confirm that foreclosures activity across the States as measured by total numbers of filings continues the steep trend upward so noticeable in 2006. The escalation over the equivalent period of the previous year is a dramatic 46% and the first quarter 2007 up 20% on the fourth quarter 2006. The activity recorded in March 2007 alone is a strong indicator of the continuing trend into 2007, a 25 % increase over filings recorded in February.

Nevada leads the way with the highest foreclosure rate, and has done since November 2006; Colorado and California foreclosures also dominated the rankings, the latter with the highest number of cities in the nation recorded up to 6 times the national average for total foreclosure rates of all categories. California and Florida together accounted for around 37%of all foreclosures in the USA filed in March.

Press releases from major cities across the nation reveal data that suggests filings at record setting levels. Massachusetts foreclosure filings reached a high this first quarter 2007, other states report that their ratio of house sales to foreclosure auctions has tumbled in 2 years. Rhode Island reports a ratio in 2005 at 14 to 1, narrowing this first quarter 2007 to 3 to 1.

The number of distressed properties coming on to the market , whether they finally sell at auction or otherwise, must inevitably impact on the housing market, helping to drive down property prices in that neighborhood. Rhode Island reports that the average price of a single family house has fallen 3% compared with the same period 2006. Single family residences continue to represent the lion's share of foreclosure activity; an average of 81% nationwide, although this proportion can vary widely state by state..

Pressure from three main areas suggests that a noticeably higher number of bank foreclosures are and will be coming onto the real estate market in 2007.
Ã?â‚??One group of home owners most at risk for future foreclosures are those who relied on house price appreciation to build equity against which they need to borrow, with some industry forecasters estimating around $1 trillion worth of adjustable rate mortgages resetting at higher rates this year. Negative equity equals more bank repossessions on the market.
Ã?â‚??A slowing of the housing market, which includes a growing inventory of unsold homes, may make it difficult for property owners to avoid foreclosure.
Ã?â‚??There inevitably will be less credit available for borrowers to refinance their way out of debt. Banks and other financial institutions in the subprime lending business have been hit hard with delinquencies in the last year. Whether the problem is symptomatic of a wider credit problem or related to lax lending standards; by late last year there was an increase in the numbers of subprime mortgages in default by more than 60 days.

Rising numbers of all foreclosures will put pressure on lending institutions to reduce the inventories of REO in a timely manner. In particular if REO properties sit too long on the market, carrying costs pile up and bank owners get impatient.

REO is the institutional name for Real Estate Owned property, realty that lenders have had to repossess because of mortgage delinquencies. Not all REOs are bank foreclosures but by definition all bank foreclosures are REO.

REO statistics for March 2007 include California REO up 37%, Arizona up 34% and Florida and Nevada 27% and 19% respectively. Texas recorded the most REO including bank filings in March, with 14,000 year to date , up from 11,000 same period last year. Harris county, TX, up 147%, got top billing.
Looking at REO by region;
1.Southwest Texas leads the region ( and the country) in Reo filings for the first quarter 2007.
2.MidwestMichigan and Ohio are ranked 3rd and 4th nationally.
3.Southeast Florida closely followed by Georgia.
4.NortheastThe region in general does not offer the activity in REO foreclosures of the other regions in the nation. Monroe county PA recorded 2.5 per 1000 households, the highest number of REO filings in the northeast in quarter 1.

It's a no brainer. The opportunities for buying well priced bank foreclosure property will be better than ever in 2007. Some investors have already no doubt closed the best deals in town in this first quarter.

There are fewer complications, clearer indications of good opportunities in pursuing a strategy of buying bank REO properties.

Foreclosures
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