Rising prices and foreclosure backlog present challenges to housing

PropertyRoundsLogoCoreLogic reported its February figures for forelcosures in Fairfield County and Connecticut. We’re not going to make a big deal out of this as it follows a full week after RealtyTrac reported March figures, which were astoundingly high.

But both reports show the region and state still has a problem with foreclosures heading into the heart of what’s expected to be one of the best years for sales in the state in a while. Combining this with the increased bidding on houses, there could be some issues getting mortgages approved in some of the more competitive markets going forward.

CoreLogic said while the state and county’s foreclosure rates both fell, they remained above 4 percent while the national rate was 2.85 percent.

Mortgage counselors working for some of the area’s nonprofits report that people are still fighting tooth and nail to keep homes in a tough economy. Job loss, frozen incomes and other economic issues are still leaving some people short in this economy. The 90 day delinquency rate on mortgages in Connecticut and Fairfield County both topped 7 percent while the national rate was barely above 6.

The continued foreclosures and pressure on some homeowners could check the rise in home prices here, which might actually stop the market from outpacing consumers’ incomes this summer.

That’s a problem in a market that’s surged largely on pent-up demand from people who deferred buying during the recession.

One concern of economists is he lack of growth in jobs and incomes in the last several years means, after pent-up demand for homes in the market is sated, you might be left with fewer people who can actually afford to buy a home.

And beyond this issue is the appraisal. As several realtors have noted, multiple bids are coming in for some homes, yet appraisers remain conservative, which could present challenges if the appraisals don’t match offer prices.

Housing itself remains one of the keys to the economic health of the nation, but the housing recovery is supported by jobs, income and credit.

Some of these issues are good ones to have in a market, multiple bids in particular. As the year moves on, we’ll see if our good problems outweigh the bad ones.



Rob Varnon

One Response

  1. Pearl says:

    I think the data does not tell two sides to the housing market. I have neighbors who are desperate to sell their homes, but they are too underwater to do so and are not listed for sale. Those homeowners’ statistics are not in the numbers. Also, the mortgage payment delinquencies are not tallied until a certain amount of time has passed. The number of these homes have increased in my area substantially in the last year. Many homes in this situation are not even on the books yet. Are they headed to foreclosure eventually, as well? And I wonder where the sudden escalation in prices came from? Our home is worth less than it was a year ago at this time and has steadily lost value which would have to be priced in if we were to sell now. With the meltdown in prices over the last seven years, it is now valued at less than what we purchased it for in 1998. It is not the hedge for inflation, nor retirement nest egg we hoped to sell in our senior years. I remember hearing in the last few months, financial advisors saying that the home you buy is to ‘live in’, not for ‘investment’ purposes — I think a lot of people may be forgetting that advice lately. Also, municipalities will have to make up for lowered revenues and may need to ramp up property taxes in the near future. More costs to consider.