From the outside the housing market is measured with a few basic numbers; how many homes are being sold, how many are on the market, and what is the median price of a home. Many homebuyers, real estate agents, and related industry professionals gauge the housing market from these figures. These present moment numbers are just a random snapshot of what is happening with real estate, and where it might be going. Here are a few other pieces of information to consider:
Time Magazine discusses how “there are many reasons why homes that could be for sale aren’t. Some are stalled in the foreclosure process, which can easily take more than a year in some states. Some banks decide against putting certain homes on the market either because they can’t process all their distressed inventory, or because flooding the market would drive prices further down. Technically, shadow inventory also refers to homeowners who would like to sell but are waiting for market conditions to improve.”
While many investors are looking at buying foreclosures, NASDAQ points out that properly researching title before buying a foreclosure is a key step. “Foreclosures sell for about a 20 percent discount compared to conventional sales. But that’s an average – many sell for much bigger discounts, and some sell for close to market value. Expect smaller discounts on homes that are in good condition and have not been on the market long. There’s no title insurance on properties bought at a sheriff’s sale on and tax liens are a common problem with foreclosures.”
Foreclosure properties are also generating dozens of lawsuitsagainst mortgage processors. Two Nevada attorneys announced Monday they’re suing six companies they claim have been processing Nevada home foreclosures without authorization. Attorneys Nicholas Boylan of San Diego and Shawn Christopher of Henderson said they filed suit last month in Clark County District Court and are seeking class-action status on behalf of 16 Nevadans named as plaintiffs and potentially thousands of more plaintiffs as class members. The lawsuit claims the foreclosure processors engaged in debt collection activity even though they were not licensed in Nevada as debt collectors.
Bank of America is reportedly negotiating foreclosure settlements where the borrower is not allowed to badmouth the bank online or on Facebook. CBS reports ”As a condition for offering mortgage relief to Arizona homeowners, Bank of America (BAC) is allegedly requiring them to refrain from criticizing the company. That includes making borrowers delete any negative comments they may have made about the banking giant online. Arizona legal officials say such agreements are hindering their ongoing investigation into B of A’s loan-modification practices.”
Homeowners have taken to the courts individually, fighting against foreclosures using challenges to records systems and presenting pro se cases such as quiet title and slander of title defenses. Reneé L. Martin (appellant), in pro per, brought an action against Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., Bank of America Corp., Bank of New York, ReconTrust Company, and Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (together, respondents) after she defaulted on a secured real estate loan and foreclosure proceedings were initiated. The trial court sustained respondents’ demurrer without leave to amend and granted their motion to strike appellant’s “request for attorney’s fees, punitive damages and damages for emotional distress.” Appellant contends the trial court erred in sustaining the demurrer without leave to amend because respondents had no legal authority to initiate foreclosure proceedings. She also contends the trial court erred in granting the motion to strike because her complaint “is proper and does not need to be . . . amended;
Whether because of these factors or not, the home market is still struggling according to the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller indexes. The sector has remained sluggish despite lower prices and interest rates due to a slowly improving economy, an abundance of foreclosures and tighter mortgage requirements.”Tighter lending standards and widespread expectations of further declines in home values have been depressing home sales on a larger scale,” said economists Ellen Zentner, Aichi Amemiy and Jeffrey Greenberg of Nomura Economics Research in a note to clients. “In addition, a growing share of distressed assets in home sales that are typically sold at a 20% discount are putting downward pressure on house prices.”