Tuesday, May 06, 2008

One in four home sales in Mpls market in Q1 "lender-mediated" 

The Minneapolis Board of Realtors put out today a report on the number of sales they estimate have been either foreclosures or "short sales". It is partially an attempt to get people to understand that the market for traditional sales -- where the owner is selling the house and the bank is a passive party -- has not fallen in prices nearly as fast as suggested in the aggregated data.
Not surprisingly, lender-mediated homes have seen a substantial increase in total market share over the last 24 months. The percent of total new residential listings in the Twin Cities 13-county region that are flagged as foreclosures or short sales using our methodology has shown steady growth, rising from 2.9 percent in Q1 2006 to 7.1 percent in Q1 2007 and 21.7 percent in Q1 2008.

...The actual number of traditional seller new listings has fallen by 27.4 percent over the last two years, with only 19,675 in Q1 of this year compared to 27,116 in Q1 of 2006. So clearly, homeowners are holding steady in their current residences with greater frequency and home builders are producing far less new inventory.

The market share picture is similar for home sales, with foreclosures and short sales comprising a larger portion of overall sales than they have before. In Q1 2008, 27.6 percent of total residential closed sales were mediated by a financial institution, up substantially from the first quarter of the two years prior. And the number of traditional closed sales fell from 8,896 in Q1 2006 to 4,790 in Q1 2008, while the number of bank mediated sales increased from 324 to 1,828 for the same time period comparison.
So people putting homes on the market has fallen, but the number of homes put up by traditional sellers and which sold fell by much, much more. 1828 houses either through foreclosure or through short sales has a very depressing effect on homeowners "holding steady" in their homes. They may be holding, but they're not steady.

More of the short-sale and foreclosed homes are lower-price homes, so if the rate of those homes being put into the market accelerates, the report is right to point out, that makes the value of houses look like it's falling faster than it is. But there may be many more homes out there with people not able to sell, not able to make their payments, and not able to get out of the game. Even if traditional sale prices have only fallen 3.5% over the last two years, that still means a lot of homes with mortgages repricing this year are about to be in big trouble.

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