Whether it was the anticipation of the foreclosure settlement or simply because lenders must eventually move their distressed inventory, initial foreclosure filings in Pinellas County rose sharply in December and January. This follows the huge drop in filings after the disclosure of the robo-signing scandal in 2010.
Much has been made about the real estate shadow inventory and its effect on home prices. As a real estate appraiser, my prior analysis showed a distinct link between the available inventory and home values.
With 717 initial real estate foreclosure filings in Pinellas County in January as compared to roughly 400 per month this past summer we could be seeing the beginning of an increased supply of foreclosed homes. Of course with the Florida foreclosure timeline over 800 days what really matters to the inventory is the number of properties that have made it through the foreclosure process and made it onto the real estate market. While there does not appear to be an increase in REO (real estate owned) properties recently listed, if lenders have become more aggressive foreclosing on properties, we would expect it to show up first in the number of initial filings.
The number of home sales continues to edge upward with a very slight increase over last January. As the real estate market continues to work off the overhead of distressed homes, a more rapid resolution to the shadow inventory is necessary for a healthy housing market. 2012 maybe the year that the housing market takes a big step toward normalcy and could provide the last best opportunity to snap up properties at historic bargains.
As the premier provider of real estate appraisals and property valuations in the Tampa Bay area, Marsh Bilby and Asset Value Appraisal and Consulting assists banks, mortgage companies, Attorneys, Realtors, loss mitigators and home owners with a complete line of real estate appraisal and valuation products.