Where foreclosures > # of Homes Sold

Speaking of charts:  Floyd Norris’ always interesting Off the Charts column this week looks at foreclosures:

"Mortgage foreclosure notices are going out so fast that in some states the number of new foreclosure proceedings each month is greater than the number of homes sold that month.  The foreclosure problem appears to be greatest in the West, particularly in Nevada, where home prices soared in the housing boom and are now falling rapidly…

During January, it was reported this week by RealtyTrac, there were 153,745 initial foreclosure notices sent out in the United States. That dwarfed the 43,000 total sales of newly built single-family homes and amounted to nearly half the total sales figure, which includes sales of existing homes and condominiums.

In the West, however, the picture was much worse. There the number of sales was barely higher than the number of foreclosure notices. It appears that in the most heavily affected states the sales totals lagged behind the number of foreclosure notices.

Moreover, the volume of foreclosures is especially high in some states. In California, RealtyTrac reports, nearly a quarter-million properties were subject to some legal action related to foreclosure in 2007. Not all those foreclosures were completed, of course, either because the process dragged into this year or because the homeowner managed to sell the house or come up with money to make the missed payments. But those foreclosure moves affected 1.9 percent of the living units in the state — or 1 in 52 homes.

California led the country in number of properties affected by foreclosure moves, but was only fourth in terms of the percentage of homes affected. Nevada led in that dubious category, with 3.4 percent — or 1 in 30 — of the housing units affected. It was followed by Michigan, which missed out on the housing boom but is playing a large role in the bust, and by Florida, which like Nevada experienced a wave of speculative building amid rapidly rising prices."

Wow. Those are some pretty serious numbers. And check out the chart porn, via the NYT:

click for larger chart


courtesy of NYT

In Parts of U.S., Foreclosures Top Sales
NYT, March 1, 2008



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  1. edhopper commented on Mar 1

    That was a very good article. There was also a front page article in the NYTimes today about the fall in the market yesterday and the economic outlook that had this interesting paragraph.
    “If that was not pessimistic enough, Wall Street’s attention was soon riveted by a report from analysts at UBS that estimated losses to the financial system from securities backed by mortgages and other debts would total $600 billion. Until recently, many analysts had been forecasting losses in the neighborhood of $400 billion — a figure that the dwindling band of optimists in the financial markets once dismissed as vastly overblown.”

    And most of those ban of optimist still seem to get most of the air time on CNBC:-}

  2. Lord commented on Mar 1

    Loan conditions are getting so tight, lenders will have to carry their own paper and be more flexible on terms than they want to be. The latest scam is renting out foreclosed homes to the unsuspecting.

  3. Sherman McCoy commented on Mar 1

    The NYT piece is terrible terrible crap. “Foreclosure filings” are conflated with the concept of completed back-to-the-bank foreclosure and there’s no clear explanation of the difference between the two.

    It seems like this was done to boost the drama of the piece. For the same reason, it seems the term “foreclosure moves” was invented to deliberately gloss over the distinction.

    The graphical comparison between home sales and foreclosure “filings” is most egregious since it gives the impression that these filings represent additional inventory… but that would be the case for completed foreclosures, not just filings.

    Stupid f*&#ing reporter could just dig a tiny bit deeper and report the percentage of “filings” that are actually turning into completed foreclosures. But no, no… That would be too journalistic for the NYT.

  4. JustinTheSkeptic commented on Mar 1

    Oh shit! That aint nut’in yet Honey! Wait until the CDS’s start hitting the high-wire. Remember the old song, ” I’m up on the high-wire, one sides ice the others fire.” One of my favorites, I’m affraid it gives my investment style away, but hey – I turned 800 into 45,000 last year.

  5. bsneath commented on Mar 1

    We might be seeing a little light at the end of the housing bubble tunnel – at least in some areas of the nation. “Housing Watch” has a real-time listing of real estate asking prices in cities around the Country. You can click onto any city and get a lot of additional information.


    It shows green (asking prices are increasing) in Texas, the mid-west (except Detroit – autos), the south and plains states. This would make sense since energy, farming and mfg exports are the strongest parts of the economy.

    While asking price is not sales price, this is the most current data set that I have found for a check on the pulse of the housing markets and therefore the economy.

    The site also shows lots of red for cities in California, Nevada and Florida. Even scarier (more scary?) is the magnitude of the price declines ($100,000+ on average YOY) in Southern California. And scarier yet, go to Countrywide Foreclosures (REO) Blog and “Zillow” some of the SoCal properties. They are grossly overpriced even with $100,000+ haircuts.


    My conclusions are: 1)the heartland and energy states will experience only a mild economic downturn and will recover quickly, 2) Southern California, Nevada and Florida will experience major protracted recessions, with SoCal being the last to recover, and 3) any financial institution with significant holdings in California properties is F-bombed.

  6. Pat G. commented on Mar 1

    I just concluded reading a very insprirational article about a non-profit activist group working with the victims of Cleveland’s foreclosures called; East Side Organizing Project (ESOP). It took them 2 years to get Countrywide to the table but it netted Cleveland city homeowners $4B in the end and along the way hundreds of home loans were renegotiated. Good stuff!!

  7. Dave commented on Mar 1

    What’s the matter with Kansas? Apparently nothing.

    Apparently finally its good to be a farmer, or live near one. City folk better get used to it for a while or else do the Green Acres thing (I’m dating myself, aren’t I)

  8. Radio Left commented on Mar 2

    Mikes Blog Roundup

    Crooks and Liars

    The Bonddad Blog: People are abandoning mortgages as p…

  9. The Big Picture commented on Mar 4

    Video: Floyd Norris on Foreclosures vs Homes Sold

    As we noted over the weekend (Where Foreclosures # of Homes Sold), Floyd Norris Off the Charts column covered the fascinating question of where in the country Foreclosures are actually exceeding Home Sales Here is the accompanying video :click for vide…

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