Foreclosure Inventory in Dramatic Decline

iStock_000016650538SmallHousing market continues to show signs of a comeback

The number of foreclosed homes continues to drop dramatically. A year ago, there were 1.4 million homes in the foreclosure process, and as of August, fewer than 950,000 homes remain in the nation’s foreclosure inventory.

“This means a tightening supply of homes for sale, less bargain-hunting and more serious buyers looking for safe, sound and well-researched deals,” said Housefax President Michael Abdy. “These recent numbers coming out of CoreLogic’s National Foreclosure Report are welcome indicators of a normalizing housing market.”

Shadow inventory – properties that are either in foreclosure and have not yet been sold, or homes that owners are delaying putting on the market – have dipped sharply as well to its lowest level since August 2008 to 1.9 million homes. Shadow inventory and hesitant buyers foist uncertainty on fragile housing markets, so rising prices are a positive counter to this long-term pressure, which has been relentless since approximately 4.5 million homes were lost to foreclosure since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency attributes these trends to a strengthening economy, national foreclosure prevention efforts, loan modification and other regulatory initiatives. “We are seeing the same trends, along with more serious, careful buyers driving the housing market comeback,” said Abdy. “Though the numbers are very hopeful, foreclosures remain much higher than pre-2008 levels, and we still have a long fight ahead of us. Caution remains the watchword.”