Minnesota home owners who are considering selling their homes in this challenging market environment will benefit from an understanding of the current housing market conditions. There is no doubt that the current real estate market is under extreme pressure and that housing prices in Minnesota and around the country are experiencing a drastic correction. For many people, a short sale may be the solution for their problems. Before deciding if a short sale is right for you, let’s take a look at where the real estate market is and where it might be going.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of American homes which are in the foreclosure process throughout 2010. The level is not expected to dwindle in the coming months and some experts are predicting a growing number of foreclosures as we continue through 2011, 2012 and possibly longer.
With home prices at 50% of their former high you would think buyers would be jumping on the bargain home prices. However, it just isn’t happening, even with historically low interest rates which are making homes more affordable than they’ve been in a decade. It’s going to take a turnaround in the unemployment rate before home prices and the real estate market begin to improve.
RealtyTrac Inc. is a company that tracks default notices, scheduled home auctions, home repossessions and other warnings that typically lead to a home being foreclosed. The company predicts that 1.2 million homes will be repossessed this year. According to RealtyTrac statistics foreclosure activity rose 77% in the markets that they tracked. That equates to 159 out of the 206 metropolitan areas included in the RealtyTrac studies. The rates vary widely from city to city with Columbia, South Carolina experiencing a dramatic 171% increase over 2009. Chicago reportedly had more homeowners lose their homes to foreclosure in the first quarter of 2010 than in that same period for the past 5 years.
Over 50% of the United States foreclosure activity in 2010 came from 5 states namely, California, Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Michigan. Combined, these states reported that almost 1.5 million households received notification of foreclosure filing even though California, Florida and Arizona all reported year over year decreases.
California is the number 1 ranking state with highest foreclosure rate and showed a 47% increase in the number of homes that were repossessed in the December of 2010. With 10 of its 20 cities suffering the most foreclosure activity California is the hardest hit area. Arizona, ranked second, reported a 52% increase with 1 in every 17 households receiving foreclosure filings last year. Florida ranked number 3 with 1 in every 18 households receiving notices.
For the fourth year in a row Nevada reported the highest foreclosure rate with 1 in every 11 households receiving filing notices in 2010. December foreclosure activity reportedly increased 18% from November 2010 with a whopping 71% spike in bank repossessions.
With approximately 5 million mortgages being a minimum of 2 months behind some economists predict that 2011 will be the peak while others project that it will take 2 years before the residential real estate markets begin to stabilize. In California 14 out of the top 20 metro areas saw a slight drop in the foreclosure rates based on year over year figures. Foreclosure rates are affected by a number of factors, including government intervention and non-market influences, which can be interpreted as a signal that they are not safe. There are 2 main factors that are said to account for the localized differences.
An article in Daily Finance reveals that there is one possible reason for the localized differences in foreclosure rates. The article attributes the differences to a federal government program announced in March of 2010 that was designed to encourage short sales and reduce the number of foreclosures. The program pays homeowners to sell their homes using the Minnesota short sale process. Lenders were said to have delayed foreclosure proceedings in areas where a short sale may have resulted in cost savings.
It is important to understand the differences between a short sale and a foreclosure. Firstly, short sales involve asking the existing bank or lender if they will accept less on a sale price than the amount owned on the mortgage. Unlike foreclosure proceedings, the seller need not be in default for a short sale to occur but must be able to provide evidence of hardship and 2 months worth of bank statements. The short sale process takes several months to complete and the lender still has the option to enter into foreclosure proceedings right up until the day of closing.
There have been further reports in various newspapers suggesting that a number of banks froze foreclosure proceedings against borrowers who were behind on their payments after allegations of improper evictions. Most banks have resumed proceedings and it is projected that the first quarter of 2011 will show a corresponding spike.
With the continually high foreclosure levels in the United States the rental property market reported an increase in demand for apartments. This has been partly attributed to improving employment prospects for people between the ages of 20 and 29. This age group is a key group for landlords and when employers began to hire in January of 2010 the vacancy rate declined to 6.6% by June of that year. Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that U.S. homeownership rates fell by 66.9% in the second quarter of 2010. This is the lowest since 1999.
Although the economy has started to recover enough to stimulate demand for apartments it has not been strong enough to prevent more home foreclosures and lead to a sustainable rebound in home buying. Finances for homeowners did not improve quick enough to prevent the 1.65 million foreclosure filings that occurred in the first half of 2010. This was an increase of 8% from the same period in 2009 says RealtyTrac. A record 269,962 American homes were seized under foreclosure proceedings in the second quarter of 2010 and lenders were estimated to have claimed more than 1 million more properties by the end of the year.
Henry Cisneros, executive chairman of CityView in Los Angeles, has been quoted as predicting that the rental market will be robust for the next few years. Rents will likely rise by 4 to 6% in both 2011 and 2010 however landlords will not be able to raise the rent too aggressively until unemployment rates decrease.
With 1 in 45 homes in the United States in the foreclosure process companies continue to track real estate market conditions and have made projections that show that foreclosure levels are not expected to dwindle in the coming months. Homebuyers continue to be hesitant even with dropping mortgage rates and dropping unemployment rates causing the rental rates to increase in a number of areas. The states which have been the hardest hit are California, Arizona, Florida and Nevada.
Know that you have an understanding of current conditions in the housing market, you will discussing your situation with a REALTOR who specializes in short sales. If you have a house in Minnesota, you’ll want to speak with a Minnesota REALTOR who will be able to answer all of your questions for free. You can know more at http://minnesotaoptions.com.