Foreclosure properties sold during 2012 decreased by 6% from 2011 and down 11% from 2010, RealtyTrac said in its fourth quarter and year-end 2012 foreclosure and short sales report.
Based in Irvine, Calif., RealtyTrac is the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties.
“Although foreclosure-related sales represent a shrinking share of total sales, primarily because of fewer bank-owned purchases, distressed sales are still a disproportionately high portion of the overall housing market,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.
Pre-foreclosure sales increased 6% from 2011, returning just 1% below the 2010 total of pre-foreclosure sales. Since RealtyTrac began tracking in 2005, 2010 held the highest annual total. Pre-foreclosure homes took an average of 336 days to sell after starting the foreclosure process, and properties sold for an average price of $190,031.
Even though REO sales fell in the nationwide total, numbers still increased in 26 states. 498,122 REOs were sold to third parties, which is down 15% from 2011 and down 19% from 2011. REOs sold for an average of $151,998 and took and average of 178 days to sell.
Short sales are sales where the price was below the estimated amount of all outstanding loans for a given property. On average in 2012, non-foreclosure short sales were on average $81,621 short of the loan amount owed. As the year progressed in 2012, short sales increased. Short sales increased 2% from the third quarter of 2012 and increased 17% from the fourth quarter of 2011. Short sales of properties not in foreclosure were estimated to account for 22% of all residential sales in 2012.
Foreclosure activity plummeted 17.8% year-over-year in January with only 61,000 foreclosures completed last month, down from 75,000 a year earlier, CoreLogic reported.
The Irvine, Calif.-based real estate analytics firm also noted that foreclosures from December to January did mange to edge up 10.5% from 56,000 in December.
Both months are still well above the normal foreclosure rate of 21,000 foreclosures per month, an average established in the six-year period running from 2000 through 2006.
The U.S. currently has 1.2 million homes in some stage of foreclosure, down from 1.5 million in January of 2012.
“The backlog of distressed assets continues to fade as the foreclosure inventory has fallen to a level not seen since mid-2009, with less than 3% of all mortgages in foreclosure,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The improvement is widespread as only six states and 13 of the largest 100 metro areas had an increase in the foreclosure rate year over year.”
The five states with the most completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending January 2013 included California with 96,000 foreclosures; Michigan (74,000); Texas (59,000); and Georgia (50,000). All of these states made up nearly half of all completed foreclosures.
The states with the fewest completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in January included the District of Columbia, Hawaii, North Dakota, Maine and West Virginia.
As part of a three-year commitment to U.S. small businesses, Citi today announced that the bank surpassed its $8 billion lending goal in 2012 by more than $1.6 billion.
Citi loaned a total of $9.6 billion to small businesses in 2012, a 21 percent increase from 2011, when Citi loaned $7.9 billion. Citi has substantially increased its small business lending in recent years, from $4.5 billion in 2009 and $6.0 billion in 2010.
After showing little change, fixed-mortgage rates recently started to decline, Freddie Mac said in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Falling from 3.56% a week ago, the 30-year, fixed-mortgage rate reached 3.51% for the week ending Feb. 28, a decline from 3.90% a year ago.
The 15-year, FRM averaged 2.76%, down just a little from 2.77%, but significantly down from 3.17% a year earlier.
Also decreasing, the 5-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.61%, down from 2.64% last week and from 2.83% a year earlier.
Following suit, the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.64%, down 1% from 2.65% a week ago, but down 2.72% from a year ago.
“Mortgage rates eased somewhat as the consumer price index in February held steady for the second month in a row. House price indicators, however, showed gains in 2012. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller national home price index rose 7.3% last year, reflecting the largest four-quarter growth since the third quarter of 2006,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac.
Nothaft added, “This, in part, was a driving force that pushed up the number of existing and new home sales in February to the highest levels since July 2007 and July 2008, respectively.”
Time and time again, the housing recovery has been deemed a reflector of overall U.S. economic health. And right now, both seem to showing fairly modest growth.
In the week ending Feb. 23, seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims dropped to 344,000. This is 22,000 fewer than the previous week’s revised total of 366,000 filings, according to the United States Department of Labor.
However, according to analysts at Econoday, this is nothing to get too excited about, as this drop follows an upwardly revised spike of 24,000 one-week prior.
“What may be signaling improvement are continuing claims which for the Feb. 16 fell a sizable 91,000 to 3.074 million with the four-week average down 36,000 to a recovery low of 3.155 million,” said Econoday.
Also at a recovery low is the unemployment rate for insured workers, which is at 2.4%, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point.
“Initial jobless claims have been more or less stable throughout February and other survey measures of both firing and hiring point to little change,” experts at Capital Economics said.
According to Capital Economics, payroll employment increased by 175,000 filings in February. “Assuming that the household survey shows a similar gain in employment and there are no wild swings in the size of the labor force, this suggests that the unemployment rate remained at 7.9%,” said Capital Economics