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Home prices expected to continue to suffer as a result of foreclosures

Much has been written (including by me) about the negative impact foreclosures and other distress sales have on home prices so this is no new issue.  In fact, most readers have probably seen (or felt) the impact of this in their own neighborhood.

The charts below which show the percentage of mortgages that were 90 days or more past due and in foreclosure for 2007 through 2010 illustrate well just how ugly this issue is.  In the lower left hand corner of each chart is depicted the national house-price index through the period and it is easy to see that as the foreclosure activity grew, home prices declined.  When looking at the charts you may be somewhat encouraged as the December 2010 chart appears to show less delinquencies and foreclosures for many areas than the chart for the year before.  Unfortunately it appears this may have been a temporary improvement due to moratoriums caused by “robo-signing” issues as well as delays in the process while borrowers were considered for HAMP or other loan modification programs.

During a presentation last week at the St. Louis Association of REALTORS, Julie L. Stackhouse, Senior Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, after sharing with REALTORS the various issues that led up to the housing crisis, proceeded to point out there were several key factors that will affect housing prices in the near term including:

  • Increase in foreclosures once the robo-signing issue is resolved (a spike is expected in 2012) will lead to house price declines.
  • Availability of mortgage credit – tighter standards
  • Many homeowners are “under water” on their mortgages
    (between 20 – 25% as of 3rd quarter, 2010)
  • The unemployment rate remains high (9 percent in January with
    non-farm employment showing only meager gains)
  • The rate of household formation has stalled and isn’t expected to
    return until at least 2012.

So, unless lenders pay heed to the warnings and advice from the Fed Reserve that I wrote about yesterday, in terms of working hard to avoid foreclosures and finding alternatives to foreclosures, we are going to feel the impact of foreclosures for the next couple of years at a minimum.  Once again, from the buyer-side of the equation, this is not a bad thing….there are going to continue to be a lot of opportunities out there to buy a home at a very reasonable price….unfortunately the seller-side of the equation is not so pretty…..sellers are going to be forced to compete with the low prices of distressed sales for some time.

foreclosure-map-2007foreclosure-map-2008foreclosure-map-2009foreclosure-map-2010

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