Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Phoenix-area foreclosures way down in October

Home foreclosures made up 26 percent of all home-resale transactions in October, the lowest percentage since April 2009, according to an existing-home sales report issued Monday by Arizona State University.

However, report author Jay Butler warned against investing too much significance in the reduced foreclosure rate.

"Just because we're seeing a drop in foreclosures, that doesn't mean we have a healthy housing market," said Butler, professor emeritus at ASU's W.P. Carey School of Business. "Other types of activity and purchases are not increasing in order to push us forward."

Butler said the generally poor economic environment and anemic growth are inhibiting consumer confidence.

The foreclosure rate has dropped from 43 percent of the area's single-family, existing-home transactions in January and February to 26 percent in October, down from 29 percent in September.

Still, Butler said he doesn't expect the downward trend to continue throughout 2012.

"The numbers are deceiving because they only look at recorded foreclosures," he said. "Many more foreclosures may be lingering in the pipeline just because more paperwork and rules are being followed in the process now."

There were 1,900 foreclosures in October, down from 2,295 foreclosures in September and 3,380 foreclosures in October 2010, the report said.

Existing-home sales in October totaled 5,315 sales, down from 5,645 sales in September but an increase over the 4,695 sales in October 2010.

The median home-resale price in October was $125,000, identical to September's median price.

by J. Craig Anderson The Arizona Republic Nov. 14, 2011 06:04 PM

Phoenix-area foreclosures way down in October

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