Vacant ‘Zombie’ Foreclosures Down 43% in Third Quarter 2015 Compared to a Year Ago

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RealtyTrac recently released its Q3 Zombie Foreclosure and Vacant Property Report, which shows 20,050 residential properties in the foreclosure process – but not yet repossessed – were vacant “zombie” homes as of the end of the third quarter of 2015, down 27 percent from the previous quarter and down 43 percent from a year ago. Vacant residential properties in the foreclosure process accounted for 1.3 percent of all vacant residential properties, with bank-owned homes (REO) accounting for another 1.9 percent of all vacant properties as of the end of the third quarter. The report shows a total of 1.5 million vacant U.S. residential properties, 1.8 percent of all 84.7 million U.S. residential properties.

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Foreclosures Down 68% From Peak

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Foreclosures are falling fast. Since reaching a peak in September 2010, the number of foreclosures has plunged 68 percent – from 117,225 nationwide to 38,000 as of July, according to CoreLogic’s July 2015 National Foreclosure Report, released recently.

In the past year alone, foreclosure inventory has fallen by nearly 28 percent and completed foreclosures have dropped about 24 percent. Completed foreclosures are the total number of homes actually lost to foreclosure.

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April Distressed Sales Drop to Lowest Level Since 2007

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Distressed sales – real estate-owned (REO) and short sales – made up 11.1% of total home sales in April, down 3 percentage points from April 2014 and down 1.5 percentage points from March. While distressed sales typically decrease month over month in April due to seasonal factors, this distressed sales share was the lowest from the month of April since 2007. Broken up, REO sales accounted for 7.4% and short sales made up 3.7% of total home sales in April. Additionally, the short sales percentage fell below 4% in mid-2014 and has remained stable since then. At its peak in January 2009, distressed sales totaled 32.4% of all sales, with REO sales representing 27.9% of that share. There will always be some level of distress in the housing market, and by comparison, the pre-crisis share of distressed sales was traditionally about 2%. If the current year-over-year decrease in distressed sales share continues, the distressed sales share would reach that ‘normal’ 2-percent mark in mid-2017.

Read the full story at CoreLogic…

Seniors May Face Increasing Foreclosure Risk

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Debt levels among Americans age 55 and older continues to rise, which could put millions of baby boomers’ homes at risk, according to a new report,  “Debt of the Elderly and Near Elderly, 1992-2013,” from the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington, D.C.

The average debt among this age group is $73,211. The percentage of Americans age 55 and older with debt payments greater than 40 percent of their income rose to 9.2 percent in 2013, from 8.5 percent in 2010. What’s more, the percentages of families whose debt payments are excessive relative to their incomes is at — or near – the highest levels since 1992, according to the report.

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Foreclosures on a Free Fall, 66% Below Peak

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Foreclosures are making up a much smaller share of many markets’ housing inventories and slowly falling back in line with historical norms. Completed foreclosures totaled about 39,000 nationwide in December 2014, a 13.7 percent year-over-year decrease and a 66 percent plunge from the peak in September 2010, according to CoreLogic’s December National Foreclosure Report.

What’s more, the 12-month sum of completed foreclosures for 2014 — 563,294 — is at its lowest point since November 2007, according to the report. Completed foreclosures have fallen every month for the past 34 consecutive months. Historically, prior to the housing crisis, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide.

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Boomerang home buyers are coming back

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Millions of Americans who lost their homes during the foreclosure crisis are now poised to become homeowners again.

That’s according to a new report from RealtyTrac, which estimates that 7.3 million so-called “boomerang buyers” will return to the U.S. housing market over the next eight years.

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Financing for Foreclosed Homes

Buyers looking for a deal on a foreclosed property have good reason to scroll through the thousands of homes listed by Fannie Mae. In addition to low-down-payment financing and priority status for owner-occupants, the government-controlled mortgage giant has begun offering closing-cost assistance to qualified buyers.

Fannie Mae’s substantial inventory of foreclosed homes is marketed through its HomePath program. Some 31,000 properties are currently listed for sale at HomePath.com. Last year, the agency sold nearly 147,000 HomePath properties, according to recently filed financial statements.

The agency gives an edge to buyers looking for a place to live: When new properties come online, investors are barred from submitting offers for 20 days. During this “First Look” period, owner-occupant buyers (and nonprofit groups) get first dibs. (The First Look logo designates listings still within the 20-day window.)

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