5 Signs From the Fading of the Foreclosure Crisis
By: Brian O'Connell

NEW YORK (BankingMyWay) — Is the foreclosure crisis behind us?

It looks that way, although nobody is saying home foreclosures are gone for good.

The data point to a big recovery for the housing market, with foreclosures in serious decline these days. RealtyTrac, the Irvine, Calif., real estate analytics company, reports that U.S. foreclosures fell by 14% in June, to the lowest levels measured by the firm since December 2006.

The data come from RealtyTrac’s Midyear 2013 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report and show a clear trend that the U.S. foreclosure crisis is dissolving.

"This is the tail end of a long process,” says Sheldon Detrick, chief executive of Prudential Alliance Realty in Oklahoma City. “We are actually seeing fewer foreclosure housing listings than we've had in six years. That trend will likely continue and we will see a dramatic drop in foreclosures in the area."

In fact, RealtyTrac’s network of real estate professionals have a growing list of signs and findings the foreclosure scare is receding, including these five:

Real estate agents are once again focusing on solvent homes. Craig King, chief operating officer at Chase International, a Nevada real estate broker covering Reno and Lake Tahoe, says the tide is changing. "There will be a long tail on the distressed-property market for several more years, as there are a huge number of Nevada mortgages still underwater, but the NOD and scheduled foreclosure auction numbers have come down very substantially and will stay down from the highs," King says. "The distressed market is a fraction of what it was at the peak, and the majority of agents have shifted their focus to the equity market."

Low prices — and higher mortgages rates — are driving a foreclosure recovery. "Even as the pending foreclosures begin to hit the market, sales most certainly will continue to be brisk due to the aggressive pricing on foreclosures,” says Emmet Laffey, chief executive at Laffey Fine Homes International in New York City. “Furthermore, with mortgage rates on the rise over the last few weeks buyers will be anxious to buy and lock in their mortgage rate before they go even higher."

Foreclosures have fallen below the 1 million mark. RealtyTrac reports that U.S. foreclosure rates have fallen by 45% since June 2012. The firm expects total foreclosures to stand at 800,000 by the end of this year — well below the 1.1 million recorded last year.

Hard-hit states are in a big recovery mode. U.S. states that saw the most severe declines in home prices are on the mend on foreclosures. For instance, foreclosure starts fell 84% last month in Nevada, and 26% in Florida.

Bank repossessions are receding. RealtyTrac says bank home repossessions are down by 35% from last year to this year. The total number of so-called REOs are on pace to hit 500,000 for the year — down from 671,000 last year.

—For more ways to save, spend, invest and borrow, visit MainStreet.com.

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