Morning Briefing: Foreclosure activity below pre-recession level nationwide

by Steve Randall13 Apr 2017
Foreclosure activity below pre-recession level nationwide

The level of foreclosure activity nationwide in the first quarter of 2017 was at pre-recession levels, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

The analysis of 216 metros found that 102 (47 per cent) have below-recession levels of foreclosure activity, up from 78 a year ago.

There were foreclosure filings on 234,508 homes in the first three months of this year, down 11 per cent from the previous quarter and 19 per cent below the level of the first quarter of 2016.

"US foreclosure activity on a quarterly basis first dipped below pre-recession averages in the fourth quarter of last year, and this report shows that trend continuing for the second consecutive quarter," said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions.

The markets which are below pre-recession levels include Houston, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami and Atlanta. New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington DC are among those still above pre-recession levels.

There was an increase in foreclosure starts in March (up 1 per cent from February) but the level was still 24 per cent below that of a year earlier.

Vacation sales dropped in 2016 says NAR

There were fewer purchases of vacation homes in 2016 according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors.

The estimated 721,000 vacation home sales was 21.6 per cent below 2015’s total and was the lowest since 2013. Investment sales increased 4.5 per cent to 1.14 million while owner-occupied purchases were up 12.5 per cent to 4.21 million, the highest level since 2006.

“In several markets in the South and West – the two most popular destinations for vacation buyers – home prices have soared in recent years because substantial buyer demand from strong job growth continues to outstrip the supply of homes for sale,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

More second-home buyers financed their home purchase in 2016, the report shows, as higher prices meant the share of cash buyers of vacation homes slipped to 28 per cent from 38 per cent in 2015.

Investors were also financing more purchases with cash buyers in this sector down to 35 per cent from 39 per cent in 2015.

“Sales to individual investors reached their highest level since 2012 (1.20 million) as investors took advantage of record low mortgage rates and recognized the sizeable demand for renting in their market as renters struggle to become homeowners,” said Yun.


No problem for Houston housing market

There was a strong start to the spring buying season in the Houston market with a fifth consecutive monthly gain in sales.

Houston Association of Realtors reports that 7,013 single-family homes were sold in March, up 11.7 per cent year-over-year; condo and townhome sales were up 7.4 per cent.

"Houston home sales blossomed in March, but we also saw tremendous activity in the rental market," said HAR Chair Cindy Hamann with Heritage Texas Properties. "A healthy pace of new listings helped inventory levels grow, which is critical if we are to maintain the positive momentum."

The median price of a single-family home was up 5.8 per cent to $227,530, the highest median ever for March.

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