Monday, May 18, 2009

Foreclosure Resales: Slow in High Priced Areas

by Bill McBride on 5/18/2009 10:17:00 AM

From Matt Padilla at the O.C. Register: County absorbs first wave of foreclosures

Banks have seized homes in Orange County at a pace that dwarfs the darkest days of the housing downturn in the 1990s. Yet eager buyers have grabbed those properties, keeping the county's foreclosure inventory in check, according to a special report from MDA DataQuick.

Hold the sigh of relief.

Some economists see a second wave of foreclosures coming.
Unsold REO Click on photo for larger image in new window.

This graphic from the O.C. Register shows where foreclosures are selling - and where they are not selling.

In the low priced areas, first time homebuyers and cash flow investors are buying the foreclosures. But in the high priced areas, there are far fewer buyers - especially since there are few move up buyers.
[F]oreclosure sales appear to be lagging on the coast.

Laguna Beach's 92651 had the highest ratio of unsold foreclosures at 53.8 percent – out of 52 foreclosures, just 24 had sold by April 10. San Clemente's 92672 is right behind with an unsold ratio of 43.9 percent, followed by Laguna Woods' 92637 at 42.9 percent.

Kerry Vandell, finance professor and director of UCI's real estate center, said high prices along the coast cause properties to sell slowly, whether foreclosure or not. For one thing, mortgage rates are higher on bigger loans, he said.

Rates are higher because government-backed mortgages are limited to about $730,000. Anything over that limit is also harder to get.

Laura Pephens, a San Clemente-based banking consultant and director with the California Mortgage Bankers Association, said there is another reason why coastal foreclosures are slower to sell. Banks are more reluctant to lower their asking prices, because the loan balances are bigger.
Here comes the second wave of foreclosures - mostly in mid-to-high priced areas. And these foreclosures will be much harder to sell.

For more:
From the San Francisco Chronicle: More high-end properties sitting on the market

House Price Puzzle: Mid-to-High End and Home Sales: One and Done

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