Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Shadow Inventory?

by Bill McBride on 4/08/2009 11:06:00 AM

From Carolyn Said at the San Francisco Chronicle: Banks aren't reselling many foreclosed homes (ht Starburst)

Lenders nationwide are sitting on hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes that they have not resold or listed for sale, according to numerous data sources.
"We believe there are in the neighborhood of 600,000 properties nationwide that banks have repossessed but not put on the market," said Rick Sharga, vice president of RealtyTrac ...

"There is a real danger that there is much more (foreclosure) inventory than we are measuring," said Celia Chen, director of housing economics at Moody's in Pennsylvania.
In the Bay Area, a Chronicle analysis of data from San Diego's MDA DataQuick shows that more than one-third of foreclosures are in shadow territory - that is, they are not registering in county records as having been resold.

For the 26 months from January 2007 through February 2009, banks repossessed 51,602 homes and condos in the nine-county Bay Area, according to DataQuick. Yet in the same period, only 30,823 foreclosures were resold, leaving about 20,000 bank repos unaccounted for.
I'm not convinced. There might just be a built in a lag between when the banks foreclose to when the properties are finally sold. Instead of using aggregate statistics, it would probably be better to do a survey - follow some number of foreclosures and see what happens to them each month.