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Expert: Maryland Foreclosures Projected to Rise

Although Frederick County data is used in this article, we've been hearing about the pending increase in Maryland Foreclosures for a while now from the foreclosure attorney’s we work with. With the Robo-signing scandal resolved, banks are now getting back to the business of removing bad mortgages from their books via foreclosure.

As we've shown in our last post, Maryland has been dragging its feet in letting the market-place resolve the real estate crisis (which actually began in 2007), thereby dragging it out far longer then was needed. We still anticipate pressure on real estate prices in Maryland for at least another 2 years - the economic slowdown aside.

I’ll say it again, if you’ve ever wanted to invest in the real estate foreclosures and auctions, start looking now as two years will be gone before you know it.  Read on ~ Don

From: Frederick News Post

Real estate attorney says banks no longer pushing as much for short sales.

Originally published December 13, 2012 By Ed Waters Jr. News-Post Staff

Improved data collection by a leading distressed property monitoring firm shows a soaring rate of foreclosures in FrederickCounty in November.

But home sales also rose last month -- 231 versus 208 in October.

"Most of the mortgage companies have ended their self-imposed moratorium on foreclosures due to the robo-signing scandal," said Patrick McLister, an attorney with Salisbury and McLister in Frederick.

RealtyTrac, the data firm, said Frederick County had 131 foreclosures in November, up 197 percent from 44 in October.

Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, wrote in an email Wednesday that the firm had made improvements in the methods used to collect data, which resulted in more records being collected than would have been using the old methods.

RealtyTrac's numbers reflect distressed properties in all stages, from initial notice to possession by the lender and on the resale market.

"I'm not surprised, as I thought the previous figures seemed to be low relative to the volume of sales. The new numbers seem to be more accurate, in my opinion," said Darren Ahearn, an agent with Real Estate Teams.

"Now that they have reviewed their files properly to have a qualified bank officer determine if the loan is truly in default and not eligible for modification or short sale, Maryland will see more foreclosure properties advertised in the newspaper for sale," McLister said.

For a while, banks had worked for short sales -- allowing sale of the property at less than the borrower owed -- but for many properties that isn't viable. The robo-signing referred to by McLister was when many lenders pushed properties into foreclosure without proper review, simply signing them off in a hurry.

"The quantum leap in the number of foreclosures in Frederick County last month is evident of that trend," McLister said. "If the government doesn't extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Act, set to expire on Dec. 31, there will be less of an incentive for homeowners to participate in a short sale because they will be taxed on the amount forgiven and more defaulting loans will be referred for foreclosure in 2013."

At the same time, real estate professionals are optimistic about the pickup in sales.

Ahearn said he sees an increased demand for affordable housing, with prices looking to remain stable and interest rates at historic lows.

Bob Golden, president of the Frederick County Association of Realtors, said 2013 should be "a great year for real estate in Frederick County."

Hugh Gordon, branch manager with Prospect Mortgage, said renovation loans are popular as buyers grab foreclosures, short sales and older homes that need updating.

"I have seen a consistent increase in loan applications during 2012, and the end of the year has been exceptional," Gordon said.

Nationally, foreclosures were down about 3 percent according to RealtyTrac, but there are challenges ahead.

"The drop in overall foreclosure activity in November was caused largely by a 71-month low in foreclosure starts for the month, more evidence that we are past the worst of the foreclosure problem brought about by the housing bubble bursting six years ago," said Blomquist, in releasing the statistics Wednesday.

"But foreclosures are continuing to hobble the U.S. housing market as lenders finally seize properties that started the process a year or two ago -- and much longer in some cases. We're likely not completely out of the woods when it comes to foreclosure starts, either, as lenders are still adjusting to new foreclosure ground rules set forth in the National Mortgage Settlement along with various state laws and court rulings."


Are there still foreclosure investment opportunities?

With the press trying to spin positive news about the housing market, you’d think investors have missed the bottom and happy days are here again for the sellers. We don’t think either assumption has a whole lot of merit. If you speak with active real estate agents who are making a living in real estate, they’ll tell you two things:

  • First, there are plenty of homes on the market, just not a lot of quality homes that banks are willing to lend on.
  • Two, in the hopes of buying and flipping homes, investors are bidding on bank-reo (bank-owned) homes in droves (in some case, 20 offers or more on one property!) and driving the prices to ridiculous levels.
Inman News recently came out with a report stating that “foreclosure inventory remains near an all-time high.”  The headline is a little misleading in that the article goes on to talk about the volume of homes in the process of being foreclosed and not the actual volume of foreclosed homes sitting on bank’s books. As an investor in Maryland, what is more interesting and relevant about the article is the data, in our opinion, shows great opportunities for a long time coming in the foreclosure market.  Look at this chart from the Inman article:  

Image Courtesy of Inman NewsTotal Foreclosure and Delinquent % by Month from 1995 to 2012

  As you can see, the volume of homes in the foreclosure process has not changed in years (bottom line). States that use the Judicial foreclosure process, namely Maryland, have 2 ½ times the amount of homes in the foreclosure process and these homes are delinquent for more than 2 years. Ask any auction company how many investors are showing up at the foreclosure auctions and you’ll get a blank stare. SO are there opportunities?  In Maryland and for Investors – absolutely - and for a long time coming at the courthouse steps and there is virtually no competition for the savvy investor. Sign up for here.  

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Happy investing!

Don Miller Jr.
Excel Auction