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Friday, March 14, 2008

Foreclosures Dip But Remain High

We're up, we're down, we're all around. what does this feel like? My last post was an upbeat assessment of the market activity having picked up lately, then comes this recent report on the foreclosure situation. Foreclosures in February were down 4 percent from January, but the rate of foreclosures remains high year-over-year. The February rate was up 57 percent from February 2007.

“The year-over-year increase this February was significantly higher than the 19 percent year-over-year increase in February 2007, indicating we have still not reached the peak of foreclosure activity in this cycle," says James J. Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac, which markets foreclosed properties.

The 10 states with the highest foreclosure rates were, in order, Nevada, California, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, and Tennessee.

The 10 states with the most foreclosures were, in order, California, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, Illinois, Georgia, Colorado, and Nevada.

Source: RealtyTrac (03/13/2008)

So, Michigan remains firmly in Top 10 in this dubious category. This is starting to feel like one of those clowns that you punch and it falls over, but pops right back up - no matter how hard or how many times that you knock it down. I will say that some of the foreclosures that I've shown to buyers lately have been pretty nice. They are up in the mid-$200K's but were $300K+ houses just 6-months to a year ago. Maybe that's why the sales rate seems to be picking up, too.

I have reported here for some time now that the first half of 2008 will be a major foreclosure time for Michigan because so many of the toxic ARM mortgages just re-set late last year or are in the process of resetting right now. The foreclosures lag those events by anywhere from 3-6 months and it sometimes takes another 6 months to get the places on the market. so, we are likely to continue to see a high percentage of foreclosed properties on the market throughout 2008 and into the first half of 2009.

I suppose that the good news is that, if you're a buyers, there'll be lots of good foreclosed houses to look at this year. Whoops! There we go up again!

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