Home Prices Plunge As More Houses Enter Foreclosure Homes Auction

The Las Vegas housing market is in for another round of problems as home prices plunge to new depths. The case is also true for many other major cities in the nation and experts believe prices will decline further in the next months as unemployment rate remains to be high and more houses enter foreclosure homes auction.

Based on data gathered by Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller of major metropolitan areas, home prices have dropped to their absolute lowest since the mortgage mess erupted. And if the high unemployment rate as well as the stricter lending regulation is added, it is easy to see why home buyers are not even grabbing the more affordable foreclosed homes in Las Vegas.

Of course, the large volume of houses entering foreclosure homes auction on a monthly basis is not helping the local housing market in terms of home prices. Median price of an existing home declined by $1000 in the month of December compared to November.

Experts are also expecting more foreclosed homes for sale in Nevada to enter the market during the current year because of the sluggish economy. However, they expect these cheap homes to be snatched up by investors who are more than willing to pay cash for their purchases.

The only sad thing about the current housing situation in the state is the growing number of individuals and families who would like to buy a home, but cannot. Based on a survey by Capital Economics, 25 percent of homeowners in the nation are currently underwater and could not afford to move and buy a new house, even the bargain homes.

Other cities with declining prices include Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Detroit, Tampa and Portland. These cities were hit hard by the collapse of the mortgage industry as evident in the many houses up for grabs in foreclosure homes auction.

Birmingham Traditional and Sheriff Sales Activity Drops

The volume of Birmingham homes sold traditionally and through sheriff sales declined in February as revealed in the latest report from the Birmingham Association of Realtors. The decline mirrors national sales activity.

During the said month, only 596 homes were sold; 7 percent fewer than last years. Of the total, 43 percent involved foreclosure homes in Birmingham. This should not come as a surprise, considering that there is presently a large volume of bank foreclosures for sale in the market as a result of the mortgage collapse, growing unemployment rate, and declining home values.

Meanwhile, average home price increased to $160,385, which is 7 percent more than a year ago. Median home price, on the other hand, dropped by 1 percent and is now at $130,000. As for the average sale price of foreclosure houses in Alabama, particularly in Birmingham, the amount was recorded at $84,761. Traditional home sales price, on the average, was at $216,937.

Inventory of local homes, even those scheduled for sheriff sales, also dropped by 9 percent to 9,550. To date, total home sales activity is 8.5 percent less compared to January and February 2010 combined. Average home price, for the said period, was recorded at $162,300.

According to the report from the National Association of Realtors, national sales activity of existing houses, which include foreclosure homes, declined by 2.8 percent compared to January of this year and 9.6 percent in the past year. Sales activity in the South was unchanged.

Other states hit hardest by the foreclosure mess are experiencing a similar trend. Home sales activity has declined as a result of a combination of factors. For starters, the winter months are usually slow and there is also the tax credit, which boosted, albeit artificially, the first half of last year’s sales activity.

Another factor would be the entry of new listings, including those already scheduled for sheriff sales. Most inventories of homes for sale have experienced a lull when lenders slowed down their foreclosure process to avoid any more controversies, such as the one last year where so-called robo-signers were involved. And as these lenders slowly work their way through their pile of foreclosure paperwork, experts believe more repo homes will enter the market. When this happens, home values will most likely be dragged down and more homeowners will find themselves with underwater mortgages. The only good news is that short sale transactions are becoming popular even with lenders and could be the best way out for the underwater borrowers.

Foreclosed Homes and Commercial Property for Sale Affect Realtors

The rise in the number of foreclosed homes and commercial property for sale in New York has affected realtor memberships in some areas. Reports revealed that some realtor organizations are experiencing a decline in membership numbers as clients continue to be scarce, with majority of potential buyers opting to stay out of the market.

Housing industry analysts stated that the increase in foreclosure homes in Brooklyn and distressed properties in areas like Albany and the Bronx resulted in homebuyers opting to remain on the sidelines, with some waiting for further decreases in prices while others were simply turned off by the idea of homeownership because of persistent decreases in values of residential properties. There are other areas of the real estate business however, that is being affected by the housing crisis that might not be as obvious.

When the supply of foreclosure homes in New York started reaching record highs, business became tougher for realtors. This resulted in membership declines among realtor groups, analysts have reported. In Albany, for example, the Greater Capital Association of Realtors has reported a decline in the number of member agents and realtors, with the association posting a decrease of 6% as of March of this year.

For 2011, the latest count showed that members of the association totaled 2,674, down from the 2,849 counted in November of last year. Analysts attribute the decrease to the continuous weakness in the real estate market, with distressed commercial property for sale and foreclosed houses continuing to rise in various areas of New York. The association reportedly expects further decreases in membership numbers, although they stated that further declines in the coming months will be minimal.

One good thing about the decline, the association reveals, is that it was lower than the projected 8%. However, as long as the number of foreclosed homes for sale in the region remains elevated, most realtors expect business to be poor and association memberships to be down. Last year, the Capital Region recorded its fourth year of continuous housing sales decline, with figures sliding by 7%. When compared with the peak period of November 2007, sales in the area were down by 29%.

New York real property agents and realtor groups are expecting memberships to continue to drop in the coming months as the rise in the number of foreclosed commercial property for sale and distressed houses continues in the region. They also stated that the trend will persist for most of 2011.

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Burden of Foreclosed Bargain Homes Eased in Colorado

The burden of foreclosed bargain homes is easing somewhat in some areas of Colorado as foreclosure numbers dipped in certain markets during the 2011 first quarter compared with year-ago levels. According to housing industry analysts, the foreclosure crisis is not yet over, but figures for the first three months of the current year showed that the crisis has lightened up a bit.

For the January-March 2011 quarter, Aurora foreclosure homes remain elevated, with one household for every 144 residential units in the Denver-Aurora region receiving at least a filing during the quarter. The metro area was ranked 43rd nationwide among all U.S. metropolitan markets in terms of highest number of foreclosures for the first quarter. Meanwhile, statewide foreclosures also dipped year-over-year, but the region has remained among the top ten foreclosure hotspots of the U.S.

The number of foreclosure homes in Colorado was enough to give the state the ninth ranking in terms of foreclosure rates nationwide among all 50 states. One household per every 157 residential units was under some foreclosure stage in Colorado during the 2011 first quarter. Although the state is still one of the regions suffering from the foreclosure crisis, several of its local markets have recorded foreclosure declines during the three-month period.

In Colorado Springs, for example, foreclosed bargain homes have dipped during the 2011 first quarter, with the foreclosure rate of the metro area pegged at one household for every 157 residential units during the period. The foreclosure rate of Colorado Springs, for the initial quarter of 201, declined by 16.7 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2010. Compared with the January-March 2010 quarter, the decline was 17.9%.

Meanwhile, several other local markets recorded decreases in the volume of bargain foreclosures during the current year's first quarter, although they were still ranked among the top 100 metro regions with the highest foreclosure rates. In Greeley, one household for every 97 residential units was under some stage of foreclosure during the quarter, ranking the metro 25th nationwide. Fort Collins-Loveland, on the other hand, had a foreclosure rate of one household for every 233 residences, making the region the 95th U.S. metro area with the highest foreclosure rate.

The number of foreclosed bargain homes and distressed residential properties is expected to rise again in the coming months. Analysts stated that the almost nationwide decline in foreclosure levels was just temporary and was the result of lenders struggling with backlogs. The housing market downturn is expected to persist for the rest of 2011.

Investors Find Bargain Foreclosures to Their Liking in March

A big number of investors in the U.S. find bargain foreclosures to be the hottest investment in March 2011 as they take advantage of the low prices of these distressed properties. The high level of activities by investors propelled the nation's housing sales up during the month. However, purchase activities by first time and traditional buyers went down over the same period.

The nationwide trend was mirrored in various local markets. In Georgia, a lot of investors also purchased Lawrenceville foreclosure homes and distressed houses in various local markets of the state. At the country-wide level, sales of previously-owned houses increased to an adjusted rate of 5.1 million annually in March of this year, according to the National Association of Realtors. Compared with February 2011, the jump was around 3.7%.

According to housing market observers, majority of the Georgia foreclosure homes and distressed properties all around the U.S. that were purchased in March were grabbed by investors. Market observers also claimed that it is highly likely that most of these purchases were made by the bulk by private equity companies who mostly paid in cash. For March 2011, 40% of total housing sales were accounted for by short sales and foreclosures, while 35% of total sales transactions were closed using all-cash payment.

They also reported that most of these investors find bargain foreclosures in hard-hit areas such as Las Vegas, Tampa and Phoenix. Housing analysts also revealed that another sign that investors dominated housing sales transactions in March was the price range of homes that got purchased during the month. Housing reports showed that sales of houses priced below $100,000 rose by 10% from one year ago, signaling investors' move to take advantage of heavily-discounted prices.

They also stated that foreclosure bargains seemed to be the preferred property during the month as sales of houses ranging in price from $100,000 to $500,000 have gone down by 14% compared with one year ago. Meanwhile, sales to first time buyers went down by 33% during the month, way below the 40% that is considered healthy by housing market analysts. In terms of prices, the median selling rate of homes sold during the month was up to $159,600 from last month.

However, the median rate for March 2011 was down by 5.9% compared with one year ago. Analysts stated that the year-over-year decline in prices has a lot to do with most buyers preferring to find bargain foreclosures and opting for houses that are priced below $100,000.

Surge in Distressed and Pre Foreclosure Homes Dragged Down Prices

The rise in the number of distressed houses and pre foreclosure homes in Greensboro, North Carolina and in the rest of the Triad region has dragged down the prices of residential properties in the area. According to Triad realtors, recent prices have dipped to a level that is nearly 25% lower than what was recorded during the peak period of 2007.

The high number of foreclosed homes in Greensboro North Carolina and in the rest of the Triad market has been blamed by realtors for the price depression that characterizes the region's housing industry. In February of this year, prices of residences dipped to $156,000, declining by 24% compared with the February 2007 peak price of $205,000.

This rate is also the lowest ever recorded in the area in the past 13 years. Realtors further stated that, with foreclosure homes in North Carolina remaining elevated, prices of homes are unlikely to recover soon. Sales of residential properties also took a beating when the crisis started, real estate agents further revealed. In the past six years and a half, sales of residences in the Triad have declined from their peak by almost 48%, according to regional housing data. Realtors also claimed that the market is set for another difficult year and might have to face worse conditions before it recovers.

They reported that the huge amount of pre foreclosure homes and distressed houses in the Triad region will take around 15 months to get sold, judging from the pace of sales seen in the area in the past few months. They also reported that homes priced over $500,000 were the ones hit hardest by the industry slump, with most of them remaining unsold for months.

Currently, the region has a supply of homes in this price range equivalent to 40 months. With majority of the very few buyers preferring to find bargain homes rather than regular priced dwellings, realtors stated that houses priced above half-a-million dollars will likely remain in the market for an even longer time. Local agents and real estate brokers who have been in the Triad market for a long time have claimed that they have never seen the area's housing market in this condition before.

They also predict that things will likely get worse in the coming months as more pre foreclosure homes end up getting repossessed or seized by lenders. They claimed that the job market of the region should improve for the housing market to get out of its current slump.