We reported two months ago that foreclosures will significantly increase this summer as a result of The National Mortgage Settlement. This month, both Reuters (Americans brace for next foreclosure wave) and CNNMoney (Flood of foreclosures to hit the housing market) concurred. However, we believe this increase in distressed properties will have a much different impact on the housing market than previous increases for three reasons.
1. Demand Will Absorb Much of the Increase in Supply
The last wave of foreclosures entered the market as both consumer confidence and demand for housing was on the decline. That created an overhang of discounted properties that pushed down the prices on non-distressed homes. This new increase in foreclosures is hitting a different type of real estate market. Consumer confidence is stabilizing and the demand for housing is increasing. The impact on prices will be much less dramatic in most markets than it has been in the past.
2. Many Banks Are Doing Necessary Repairs and Renovations
Historically, the typical foreclosure has sold at a discount of 25-30% compared to non-distressed properties. The banks are finally realizing that they may soon own one or more of homes in any neighborhood. For that reason, we are beginning to see banks do the necessary repairs and renovations in order to garner a price closer to the value of non-distressed properties in the marketplace thereby lessening the impact on the value of surrounding homes.
3. Different Regions Will Bear the Brunt
Originally, many thought that the foreclosure fiasco was confined to the four ‘sand’ sates (CA, AZ, NV and FL). We now realize that cities like Chicago and Atlanta, along with many others, have also faced the burden of falling prices because of an increase in distressed properties.
This next ‘flood of foreclosures’ will have the largest impact in the judicial states that impeded the foreclosure process over the last few years such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. California, Nevada and Arizona will be impacted in a much less dramatic way than in the past.