At HousingWire’s 2011 REO Expo in Texas this week, a RealtyTrac spokesperson gave the firm’s housing recovery forecast. Senior Vice President Rick Sharga‘s predictions were probably not what most wanted to hear.
“It’s taking so long to get out of this mess because it took us so long to get into this mess,” said Rick Sharga. “We were at the tail end of an unusually long boom time in housing. Unfortunately, we’re anything but recovered, we’re actually still searching for the bottom.”
With that in mind, Sharga is predicting a full housing recovery is years away, perhaps around 2015. In the immediate future, it will take at least another year to work through the mountain of REO inventory. The next two years will see similar foreclosure and home sales levels as the industry attempts to deal with what RealtyTrac is calling higher levels of distressed properties than we’ve ever seen before. Apparently, there’s growing evidence that an increasing backlog of seriously delinquent mortgages exists.
In addition, RealtyTrac estimates that a staggering 80% of the 1.1 million properties in foreclosure and 75% of the 900,000 REO properties are not on the market yet. Couple that with a high number of adjustable rate mortgages which will reset and it’s easy to see why there’s continued cause for concern.
The total foreclosure filings for 2010 fell just shy of 3 million (at 2.9 million). Compare that to five years earlier when only about a fifth as many foreclosure filings happened (550,000 foreclosure filings for 2005), and the astronomical increase becomes even more apparent. Where will we be for 2011? Well, if the 2011 first quarter is any indication, we will far surpass 2010’s totals. For the first four months of this year, there were 941,851 foreclosures. Nearly a million in just over a quarter! At this pace, we could flirt with the four-million mark!
For short sale agents, NOW is the time to pull out all the stops. Every home lost to foreclosure is a missed opportunity to help a family and make a sale. Perhaps it’s time to look into the HAFA program more thoroughly to expand your short sale reach.
For real estate investors, so much opportunity exists that it may be hard to focus or narrow your investment selections. That’s where the help of a real estate agent who really knows the area you’re seeking would be of great benefit. With or without an agent, however, it’s an absolutely historic time to be investing in real estate.