Sunday, August 7, 2011

Reagor: Foreclosure dip hints at a better outlook, experts say

Foreclosures continue to drop in metro Phoenix, a trend signaling the housing market is slowly getting in position for a recovery, according to many real-estate analysts.

In July, lenders foreclosed on 3,176 Phoenix-area homes, according to the Information Market. That compares with 3,887 in June. The last time Valley foreclosures, or trustee-sale numbers, were this low was in December, when major lenders, including Bank of America, had foreclosure moratoriums in place to check out accusations of robo-signing.

Pre-foreclosures, or notices of trustee sales, fell to 4,015 in July from 4,262 in June. In the previous July, lenders sent out notices that they were beginning foreclosure proceedings on 7,802 metro-Phoenix homeowners.

The number of pending foreclosures for the area dipped to 23,300 last month, compared with 25,300 in June. A year earlier, there were more than 40,000 pending foreclosures in metro Phoenix. The number is down because of fewer new foreclosures and more trustee sales going through, particularly on the Maricopa County courthouse steps.

What continues to concern some market watchers is Phoenix's "shadow inventory," which includes homes on which borrowers are behind on their payments but that lenders haven't started to foreclose on yet. Also, the shadow inventory includes houses that lenders have foreclosed on but aren't yet listing for resale.

After a lender has taken back a house, it's considered a real-estate-owned property.

According to Information Market, there are 15,850 REOs either for sale or being held by lenders for future sale in metro Phoenix.

The number of REOs in the region has been steadily dropping every month this year.

Multiple listings

The Arizona Association of Realtors has called a special meeting to vote on a deal that ultimately could unite all the state's multiple-listing services.

A plan posted on aaron outlines details of the deal, including the $4.75 million purchase of Tempe-based Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service Inc. from the four associations that own it now.

The meeting is scheduled for Monday.

Ron LaMee, vice president of information services for the Arizona Realtors, said that there were few other statewide multiple-listing services and that if the plan is approved, it will mean better technology services for the state's real-estate agents.

by Catherine Reagor The Arizona Republic Aug. 3, 2011 12:00 AM

Reagor: Foreclosure dip hints at a better outlook, experts say

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