The broadest measure of the current real estate/credit/economic crisis can be found in the foreclosure data. And just how improved is that data series these days?
“More than 800,000 properties received foreclosure filings in the first quarter of 2009, according to RealtyTrac’s latest foreclosure report, released today. That was the highest quarterly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its numbers in the first quarter of 2005 despite a 13 percent decrease in bank repossessions (REOs) from the previous quarter. The increase was driven by a jump in default and auction notice filings on the front end of the foreclosure process, particularly in March when default notices were up 20 percent from the previous month and auction notices were up 29 percent from the previous month.”
“A flood of bank-owned properties is hitting the housing market as the U.S. recession deepens. The unemployment rate jumped to 8.5 percent in March, the highest since 1983, as 663,000 jobs were lost, according to the Labor Department. Home prices fell 19 percent in January from a year earlier, the fastest drop on record, according to the S&P Case/Shiller Index of 20 U.S. cities. The measure has fallen every month on a year-over-year basis since January 2007. Mortgage applications declined last week for the first time in a month, a sign that even with borrowing rates below 5 percent may not be enough to spur a housing recovery.”
So much for the vaunted bottom in Real Estate — and the broader economy . . .
Voluntary Foreclosure Abatements Ending (April 2009)
Foreclosure Activity Hits Record High in First Quarter
Foreclosure Pulse, April 16 2009
Foreclosure Filings in U.S. Climbed to Record in First Quarter
Bloomberg, April 16 2009