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The number of distressed properties not currently listed for sale on multiple listing services (MLSs) stood at 1.6 million as of October 2011, according to CoreLogic.
This shadow inventory is approximately half of the industry’s visible inventory of homes available for sale, CoreLogic says. Thus, for every two homes available for sale, there is one home in the “shadows.”
CoreLogic’s latest shadow inventory assessment represents a supply of five months and is down from October 2010, when shadow inventory stood at 1.9 million units, or 7-months’ supply.
CoreLogic estimates the current stock of properties in the shadow inventory, also known as pending supply, by calculating the number of distressed properties not currently listed on MLSs that are seriously delinquent (90 days or more), in foreclosure, and real estate owned (REO) by lenders.
Of the 1.6 million properties currently in the shadow inventory, 770,000 units are seriously delinquent, 430,000 are in foreclosure, and 370,000 are REO, according to CoreLogic’s report.
Despite 3 million distressed sales since January 2009, a period when home prices were declining at their fastest rate, the shadow inventory in October 2011 is at the same level as January 2009, CoreLogic notes.
Growth in the shadow supply, though, has been reined in by the fact that the flow of new seriously delinquent loans into the shadow inventory has been offset by a roughly equal flow of distressed REO and short sale transactions, the company explained.
Still, the shadow inventory is approximately four times higher than its low point (380,000 properties) at the peak of the housing bubble in mid-2006, CoreLogic says.
The company contends that a healthy housing market should have less than one-month’s supply of shadow inventory, which would be an easily absorbed stock of distressed assets with little or no discernable impact on house prices, unless the inventory was geographically concentrated.
Currently, Florida, California, and Illinois account for more than a third of the shadow inventory, CoreLogic reports. The top six states, which would also include New York, Texas, and New Jersey, are home to half of the shadow inventory.
Lender Processing Services (LPS) has released new data detailing mortgage performance at November month-end. The most troubling statistic shows a nearly 3 percent month-over-month increase in the number of loans 30 or more days past due but not yet in foreclosure.
LPS says 8.15 percent of the nation’s mortgages fell into this category as of the end of November. That’s up from 7.93 percent at the end of October – a 2.7 percent increase – and is the first time in four months the company has reported a rise in the national delinquency rate.
On an annual basis, the stats pan out better, with November’s delinquency rate down 9.6 percent from a year earlier.
The monthly increase in the delinquency rate can be attributed to a buildup of seriously delinquent mortgages.
LPS says as of November, there were 1,809,000 properties on which mortgage payments were 90 or more days past due but the case had not yet been referred to foreclosure. The number of properties in this bucket stood at 1,759,000 in October.
In contrast, borrowers who were behind on their payments by 30-89 days declined to 2,279,000 in November, down from 2,329,000 in October.
According to LPS’ analysis, 4.16 percent of the nation’s mortgages were part of the foreclosure pre-sale inventory in November. That ratio is down 3.0 percent from October but up 2.0 percent from November 2010, and equates to 2,116,000 homes.
All in all, LPS says 6,260,000 borrowers were behind on their payments or in foreclosure as of the end of November, representing one in eight residential mortgages.
States with highest percentage of non-current loans – which combines foreclosures and delinquencies – include: Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, and Illinois.
Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, and North Dakota have the lowest percentage of non-current loans.
Lawmakers Consider Making Florida A Non-Judicial State
Florida has one of the longest foreclosure timelines in the country, and some state lawmakers hope to shorten that timeline by removing the courts from the process. Florida is one of more than 20 judicial states -- states that require foreclosures to funnel through the courts before becoming official. Governor Rick Scott says he is interested in learning more about the prospect of moving to a non-judicial process, but not all state officials are open to the idea.
Banks Receive Proposal That Could Make Write-Downs Mandatory
On Thursday banks received the much awaited proposal that many speculated would detail the potential ramifications for their part in the foreclosure and robo-signing mess.
According to various reports, the proposal could force banks to reduce principal loan balances for delinquent or underwater borrowers, or pay a multi-billion dollar fine.
Instead, according to the Wall Street Journal, the proposal outlines a code of conduct that banks will be held to when dealing with troubled borrowers.
Though the proposal included insight from several government agencies and attorneys general, it did not include input from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The office is rumored to be against strict regulations that the other agencies are rumored to be advocating for, including a fine of more than $20 billion.
According to a recent report to a Senate committee, Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh said even though banks may not have followed procedure when foreclosing on homeowners, the foreclosures were legal and very few homeowners were wrongly forced from their homes. “A small number of foreclosure sales should not have proceeded because of an intervening event or condition, such as the borrower … filing bankruptcy shortly before the foreclosure action or being approved for a trial period modification,” he said.
Reports have also surfaced that banks are pushing back against proposed mandatory write-downs, claiming that such a practice could invite fraud. Final negotiations between banks and legislators are expected to take place in Washington, D.C. in the coming weeks.
Community bank leaders warned a House Financial Services Committee yesterday about the risks their institutions face from excessive Wall Street regulation. The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) said thousands of smaller banks could be chased out of the mortgage market if lawmakers end up redefining the qualified residential mortgage too narrowly, leaving the ball in the court of large banks. ICBA said in a statement that "regulators should exempt portfolio loans held by banks with assets of less than $10 billion from a new requirement that first-lien mortgage lenders establish escrow accounts for the payment of taxes and insurance." Without an exemption, it's feared smaller banks will not have the mechanisms to compete.
Bankers who gave testimony said increased regulation is another concern since smaller players with smaller capital reserves lack the funds to hire compliance staff for the handling of new regulations. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) warned the panel that "we are regulating ourselves out of the recovery." Albert Kelly Jr., chairman-elect of the American Bankers Association and CEO of SpiritBank, agreed, saying "managing the anomaly of regulation" is overwhelming for a bank that has only 37 employees.
The House Financial Services Committee voted Thursday to scrap two foreclosure relief programs – one that gives underwater homeowners a federal refinancing option, and a second that provides temporary mortgage assistance to unemployed homeowners.
The House committee was also planning to consider two separate bills to end the administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program, but votes on these two have been pushed to next week, reportedly simply because of time constraints.
Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama) is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and one of the main forces pushing the bills through.
Bachus said, “In an era of record-breaking deficits, it’s time to pull the plug on these programs that are actually doing more harm than good for struggling homeowners. These programs may have been well-intentioned but they’re not working. Congress needs to stop funding programs that don’t work with money we don’t have.”
A survey published recently by Santa Barbara, California-based property valuations company Equi-Trax reveals the majority of short sales are taking four or more months to complete, and Realtors say lenders are to blame.
Of the survey’s 626 respondents, 53.6 percent said that in their experience, on average, short sale transactions take four to six months.
More than 18 percent said the transactions take seven to nine months, 7.3 percent said the process takes 10 to 12 months, and 2.6 percent said the process takes more than a year to complete. Only 18.2 percent said it takes three months or less. An overwhelming 56.8 percent said the greatest challenge in completing a short sale is lenders, while 2.4 percent blamed challenges on the clients. About the same amount of participants (57.6) said lenders need to shorten the time they require to complete short sales.
Around 14 percent of agents also said they feel borrowers need to be better educated about short sales. But as servicers begin to get used to the new rules and implement them into their company processes, agents may see the length of time short sales take drop dramatically, and the number of short sales being completed rise dramatically. A recent forecast by specialty servicer AMS Servicing said non-GSE residential short sale activity could increase 50 percent industry-wide over the course of 2011 and beyond, substantially altering the national loan-servicing landscape.
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