Monday, July 06, 2009

The Booming Repo Business

by Calculated Risk on 7/06/2009 02:02:00 PM

From Jim Wasserman at the SacBee: Repo business soars as Sacramento area home sales slump

... As the U.S. foreclosure crisis grinds on, the detailed work of processing, repairing and selling thousands of homes repossessed by banks is real estate's new gold. In the past year, repo-related business has rapidly grown to national scale, fueling job growth in Colorado, Texas, Ohio and elsewhere to service the meltdown in markets like Sacramento and the Central Valley along with Phoenix, Las Vegas and Florida.

... [Austin-based Field Asset Services], which repairs, cleans and maintains repos right down to mowing the lawns weekly, has almost tripled its hiring in the past 18 months. Austin business publications gush over the firm's "hiring spree," its 550 employees and third expansion into larger offices in a year.

Clearly, the housing distress that has overwhelmed states like California has become big business.
I've spoken with a number of real estate agents that are really busy, and conversely some agents (mostly high end) that having nothing to do but count their listings. The low-to-mid end business is tough though - many homes receive multiple offers (Jeff Collins at the O.C. Register reports on one home with 135 offers). And even if a transaction is completed, the deals are frequently 'one and done' as opposed to the chain reaction of a more normal market.

BTW, Wasserman also writes a blog (with Dale Kasler) at the SacBee, the Home Front.