Housing Data shows the U.S. housing market may be heading for
4/2012 - Housing starts rose more than expected in April, up 2.6% to 717,000 due
primarily to a rise in single and multi-family starts,
People falling behind on their mortgages fell to 2008 lows during the first
quarter, according to The Mortgage Bankers Association. Loans as least 30
days over due still make up 11.8% of all mortgages, but that number has
fallen from 12.8% in 2011 and 14.7% in 2010.
Foreclosures hit a five-year low in April to 188,780, down 5% from March and
14% from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac's latest U.S. Foreclosure
Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, an online market place for
foreclosure properties, joined The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task to discuss the
latest data and whether the housing market has bottomed.
"The case is starting to build that the market is finally starting to form a
bottom and we are starting, at least in some areas, to go back up and we are
seeing that in the foreclosure numbers as well," says Blomquist.
The positive news is a bit surprising for RealtyTrac, which had been
predicting that a new wave of foreclosures would eventually hit the market
due to a backlog in the pipeline. That tide may now be turning for two
First, in many states across the country, foreclosures are being processed
much more efficiently because they do not have to pass through the court
system - what the industry calls a non-judicial foreclosure state. The
combined activity of the 24 non-judicial foreclosure states fell 7% from
March to April and was down 29% from 2011. Fewer foreclosures in California,
Nevada and Arizona were behind the decrease last month.
And second, banks are now opting to convert distressed properties into short
sales rather than foreclosures, which means banks are wiling to accept less
from a borrower than is due on a property. In a short sale, the borrower
still loses their home, but the process is much less involved for all
parties in the deal.
Short sales are up 33 percent year-over-year nationwide in
part because government programs are starting to take hold. In places like
California, short sales are up 52 percent and in Michigan they are up 100
There is also a loan forgiveness law that expires at the end of this year,
which is pushing up the number of short sales and decreasing the number of
"It is a good year for homeowners to do a short sale" because their mortgage
debt is being forgiven "and at least at the federal level it is not
taxable," says Blomquist.
Florida’s housing market had increased pending sales and
higher median prices in April, along with a greatly reduced inventory of
homes and condos for sale, according to Florida Realtors latest housing
data. “Here in Florida, we’re seeing some strong numbers that show positive
momentum for the state’s housing recovery and our economy,” said 2012
Florida Realtors President Summer Greene,
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