A recent analysis offers some good news, at least in the short-term, for those individuals (like me!) who are trying to sell their homes -- outside of Maryland, at least.
The rate of those who are seriously behind on their mortgage payments -- a leading warning sign of pending foreclosures -- was a bit better in March at 7 percent nationwide, an analysis by real estate data firm CoreLogic. The rate is down from 7.5 percent in March 2011 and at its lowest point since July 2009.
Maryland, though, inched upward from 7.8 percent to 8 percent. The state ties with New York as the fifth-highest ranking state in the nation for the number of homes with payments that are more than three months late, according to CoreLogic.
Florida, at 17 percent, is No. 1. Nevada ranks second at 12.4 percent, followed by New Jersey at 10.9 percent.
The number of homeowners with serious delinquencies is a precursor to the future rate of foreclosures, which have been ravaging families and dragging down the housing market for years.
I recently agreed to lower the price of my own home, which is for sale in South Carolina (another state with its own set of challenges), from $155,000 to $151,500. After four and a half months on the market with no offers, my agent suggested we knock down the price, telling me the foreclosures “are killing us.”
Often buyers shop foreclosures looking for a big bargain, leaving other homes to languish on the market. The result? Lower housing prices, a win for buyers, but a drain on the sellers.
Nationally, though, fewer bank-owned homes are hitting the market -- for now.
“Compared to a year ago, the number of completed foreclosures has slowed,” Anand Nallathambi, chief executive officer of CoreLogic, said in a statement. “Since the foreclosure inventory is also coming down, this suggests that loan modifications, short sales, deeds-in-lieu are increasingly being used as an alternative to foreclosures to clear distressed assets in our communities.
“This is what was envisioned with the recent National Foreclosure Settlement, and can often be a better outcome for both borrowers and investors.”
Maryland saw 3,152 homes foreclosed on from March 2011 to March 2012.
Maryland is also among the states with the highest foreclosure inventory, defined by CoreLogic as the percentage of all homes with mortgages that are in the foreclosure process, but have not yet gone to auction. The state ranks 12th in the nation.
But with 3.3 percent of mortgaged homes in the foreclosure process, Maryland has nothing on Florida.
Florida is No. 1 with 12.1 percent of all mortgaged homes in foreclosure. New Jersey, at 6.6 percent, is second; Illinois is third at 5.4 percent; New York and Nevada tie for fourth at 4.9 percent; and Connecticut ranks fifth at 4.5 percent.
CoreLogic, a California-based service, reports that nationwide 69,000 foreclosures were completed in March, compared with 85,000 in March 2011.
The tally for completed foreclosures since the start of the financial crisis in September 2008: approximately 3.5 million.
Want to read more on the subject? This story discusses the drop in foreclosed homes for sale in the Baltimore region.
Here is an April 13 Wonk report that the drop in foreclosed home has resulted in more buyers looking toward regular home buyers.
This April 5th offering will tell you more about the strain that unkempt foreclosed properties have on neighborhoods.