Ominous numbers from RealtyTrac this week. The online marketplace for foreclosure properties says foreclosure filings in May were 33 percent lower than in May 2010, while, at the same time, the inventory of unsold, repossessed homes went up.
Even as foreclosures decline, homebuying is declining even faster.
"We have a lot of distressed properties on the market, and we still have a lot to get through," says Shaun White, vice president of RE/MAX. "Up to this point we've sold, probably, three-and-a-half, 4 million foreclosures that have hit the market since this began, and we're probably about halfway through the situation. Hopefully, in time, it won't take as long to finish the second half as it did the first half."
White spoke Wednesday at the annual conference of the National Association of Real Estate Editors in a panel discussion moderated by Bankrate.com reporter Polyana da Costa. The conference is this week in San Antonio.
Lenders and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need to streamline their processes even more to run through the foreclosure inventory, White believes. He is encouraged that more investors are buying distressed properties.
Robert Doggett, a staff attorney with Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, disagrees that the pace of foreclosures needs to be accelerated. He describes that belief with a dismissive snap of his fingers: "Make the market work! Move on! No, move out."
Industry experts like to say that foreclosures need to proceed faster while the banking industry resists remedies, Doggett charges: "Where's the regulation to prevent this from happening again? Y'all wrote the stories. It's not happening. It's delay, delay, delay. Funny how that works."