According to date released by CoreLogic, nationwide the number of completed foreclosures for February 2012 dropped from an estimated 71,000 in January 2012 to 65,000 in February 2012 compared to 66,000 in February 2011. Approximately 1.4 million homes were part of the foreclosure inventory as of February 2012. Overall, the number of completed foreclosures for the last 12 months ending February 29, 2012 was 862,000.
A recent article in Realtor Magazine reported that the government was also able to reduce its inventory of foreclosures from 2010 to 2011 by almost half according to an analysis by HousingWire reports of financial statements from three government entities – Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As of December 31, 2011, these three departments held about 150,700 foreclosure properties compared to 296,000 held at the end of 2010. Investors and first time buyers have been purchasing foreclosures nationwide recognizing the advantages of being able to purchase properties at discounted prices with many of them obtaining financing at historically low rates.
After taking a closer look at the government’s reduced foreclosure inventory, HousingWire reported that HUD reduced its foreclosure inventory to approximately 32,000 out of the 62,000 properties it held the end of 2010, representing a 47% decrease in its inventory. Fannie Mae also reduced its foreclosure inventory to approximately 118,000 from 162,000 held the end of 2010, representing a 27% decrease. Finally, Freddie Mac reduced its foreclosure inventory to 60,500 from 72,000 in 2010, representing a 16% decrease.
So what does all this mean? A recent report by the NAR for March 2012 indicates that while existing home sales were down nationally in March 2012, inventory was also down and prices were stabilizing. That is great news for the housing market. Locally, Florida’s housing market increased pending sales, showed a higher median sales price now of $139,000 for single family existing homes, representing a 10% increase from a year ago and reduced their inventory as well in March 2012 according to data released by Florida Realtors Industry Data Analysis department, and their vendor partner 10KResearch and Marketing. Statewide mean sales prices for condos and townhouses were $105,000 for March 2012, representing an increase of 20.8% from March 2011. The results are positive with numbers show that pending sales of single family homes in Florida are up close to 30% and up close to 20% for condos and townhouses. During the month of March 2012, there was a 5.9-month supply of single-family homes and 6.0-month supply of townhomes/condos. Interest rates for 30 year fixed rate mortgages averaged around 3.95% during March 2012, down from 4.84% in March 2011 according to Freddie Mac.
With inventory falling, low interest rates and prices stabilizing, the market is bringing confidence to home buyers and sellers indicating that 2012 is heading towards a normalizing market.