Completed foreclosures have been making a steady decline month-over-month, and there are considerably fewer this year than last, according to CoreLogic's November foreclosure report. For example, the number of completed foreclosures in September 2011 was 83,000 compared to 57,000 this year—a 31.3 percent decrease. Although this figure is an encouraging sign that the housing market is strengthening, it is still much higher than the pre-recession average of 21,000 completed foreclosures per month nationally.
Anand Nallathambi, President and CEO of CoreLogic, cited improved market conditions along with loan modifications and short sales as factors for the lower completed foreclosure figures.
What does this mean for real estate agents? If government programs like HARP continue or are expanded we can expect to see more homeowners make an effort to keep their home through refi. Also, if the housing recovery continues, some distressed homeowners may have the equity to consider selling. This means you should be circling back around to any sellers you had that couldn't sell due to limited equity or the soft market a year ago.
Agents should also be prepared to continue dealing with short sales as financial institutions offer delinquent borrowers incentives to pursue the short sale option.