The distressed home market, foreclosures and short sales, now accounts for 41% of the active inventory and 57% of demand. The distressed inventory grew by 56 additional homes in the past two weeks. An interesting statistic is the portion of distressed homes in the various ranges in comparison to a year ago. Last year 55% of all distressed homes were found below $500,000 and 92% were below $750,000. Today 78% of all distressed homes are located below $500,000 and 94% are below $750,000. It is easy to conclude that the distressed inventory is driving demand. As painful as the distressed inventory has been to pricing, that erosion in pricing has not only brought affordability and value back into the Orange County housing market, it has planted the seeds to an eventual housing recovery.
It is time, once again to clear up the misconception in the short sale market. Short sales occur when a seller can no longer afford their monthly obligations and their outstanding loan(s) exceed the current market value. The seller must be able to document that they truly have a hardship, that their total outgoing monthly bills exceed their monthly income and they do not have a large savings or other source of capital. When this occurs, the homeowner places their home on the market subject to lender approval. Even though the buyer and seller may agree upon price and terms, the pending sale does not close until formal lender approval (and in many cases, more than one lender). HOWEVER, this is where the misconception occurs: a majority of short sales are on the market as active listings even though they already have received an offer, and often multiple offers, and have submitted a ratified contract to the lender(s). They remain as active until they obtain formal lender approval. This is due to a contract that is signed by both the buyer and seller that allows the seller to continue to market the home until lender approval. Unfortunately, this process can take anywere from weeks to months. The end result, buyers encounter homes that already have had tremendous activity and generated many offers. In most cases, short sales are just as popular as foreclosures due to their affordability and value. There are 1,249 active foreclosures on the market and demand for them is at 1,034, representing an expected market time of 1.21 months. In comparison, there are 4,701 short sales on the market. With reported demand for short sales at 656 pending sales, the expected market time is at 7.17 months. This is grossly understated because so many go unreported. Thus, it is hard to navigate among all of the active short sales. The bottom line, expect a lot of competition and activity when dealing with both foreclosures AND short sales.