Standard & Poors released their Third Quarter 2011 Shadow Inventory Update yesterday. We want to cover the basic points of the report today.
What is shadow inventory?
It is an inventory of houses that will come to market as a distressed properties at a discounted price. Each of the data companies define shadow inventory in slightly different ways. Standard & Poors defines it this way:
“We include in the shadow inventory all outstanding properties for which borrowers are 90 days or more delinquent on their mortgage payments, properties in foreclosure, and properties that are real estate owned (REO).
We also include 70% of the loans that “cured” from being 90 days delinquent (loans that once again became current) within the past 12 months because cured loans are more likely to re-default. Our calculation of the months to clear the shadow inventory is the ratio of the total volume of distressed loans to the six-month moving average of liquidations.
Is this inventory increasing?
The report shows that shadow inventory is decreasing in many parts of the country as banks are starting to release distressed properties to the market. From the report:
“We estimate that it will take 45 months to clear the national shadow inventory. This is seven months below our peak estimate but three months longer than our estimate a year ago. Twelve of the top 20 MSAs recorded declines in months-to-clear during the quarter, while eight reported increases.
What impact will shadow inventory have on real estate?
One of two things will happen:
- The inventory will continue to mount and be a hindrance to a housing recovery
- The inventory will be placed on the market and impact prices
As the report states:
“Despite the recent stability of our months-to-clear estimates and liquidation rates, these distressed loans continue to loom over the housing market and threaten to further depress home prices. Though fewer additional loans are currently defaulting, the overall volume of distressed loans remains huge. Low liquidation rates over the past two years allowed the shadow inventory to grow as distressed homes have remained tied up in foreclosure proceedings.
The shadow inventory will continue to jeopardize the housing market’s recovery until servicers are able to improve liquidation times. However, if and when that happens, an influx of homes will likely enter the market, increasing supply and driving prices down further.”
We believe the inventory will come to market impacting prices now but bringing about a housing recovery in a much shorter period of time.