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With foreclosure rates on the rise in all neighborhoods and communities it is reasonable to say that ALL homes, ALL home owners and ALL regional economies are affected by the foreclosure market.
Not all foreclosure news is bad. On one hand, price adjustments mandated by the declining market may have been devastating to banks, recent home purchasers, and prospective sellers; it has also opened doors for many who had previously been priced out of the housing market when home values were at their highest. The foreclosure market offers bargain pricing and buyers are taking notice as many areas are reporting a dramatic increase in the number of units selling rather than an increase in median home prices. According to Foreclosure Truth, nationwide affordability has increased by 24%.
Accompanying the pending home sales data was the National Association of Realtors'release of its Housing Affordability Index, which reached an all-time high in December (dating back to 1970), rising by 10.9% to 158.8. (The affordability index gauges the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income.)
For perspective, the HAI reached a 20-year low of 102.70 in June 2006, which was one of many red flags signaling trouble in the housing sector. Lower mortgage rates, a first time buyers tax credit, combined with an increase in loan applications is evidence that the climate for homebuyers has improved from previous years.
Decling Home Values Continue to Encourage Buyers
Most obvious is the weakening of home values due to this increase of foreclosures, as bank owned homes are devalued at a greater rate than homes that are not in distress. As soon as a property becomes a foreclosure it is worth less money. Today's buyers and investors are bargain hunters. They too, are aware of the effect that foreclosures bring lower sales prices, making them less willing to pay top dollar for any property.
When a Realtor or an appraiser looks at the market value of a home they look for at least three comparable homes that are nearby and have sold in the last year. Whether there is one or a dozen, foreclosures, not only affect that market, they become that market.
Foreclosures indirectly influence the conventional home seller as well. REO, or bank owned homes, may be vacant for long periods of time and are generally in disrepair. Homeowners, who are not in distress, may be forced to compete for a sale with homes that have been abandoned or neglected, while their home has been carefully maintained and cared for. They are then forced to reduce asking prices to meet the current market, or they will experience extended market times as they wait for "realistic" offers.
An additional possibility, is that if the neighborhood has convergence of bank owned homes, then it's the banks, themselves, that are forced to continually reduce the asking prices of homes in their portfolios to insure a quick sale, again driving home sales and values even lower.
According the Woodstock Institute each foreclosure of a conventional mortgage within an eighth of a mile (essentially a city block) of single-family homes results a decline in property value between 0.9 and 1.136 percent. Less conservative estimates also show that each conventional foreclosure between an eighth and quarter of a mile leads to an additional 0.325 percent decline in single-family property values.
So, foreclosures are here to stay. For how long will be determined by the same exact financial mechanisms that created this frenzy. Some may look at this market as the opportunity of a lifetime, while others are forced to make life altering decisions during this time, the social, moral, economic issues it has created will continued to be analyzed for years to come.
<!-- TopBlogArea.com START -->You can find great local Carlsbad, CA real estate information on Localism.com Tj Stroben is a proud member of the ActiveRain Real Estate Network, a free online community to help real estate professionals grow their business.
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Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.