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San Diego: “Fears recede of second crash from ‘shadow inventory’”

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From Eric Wolff at the North County Times: Fears recede of second crash from ‘shadow inventory’

For years, some real estate analysts feared that banks would suddenly release a wave of foreclosed houses, swamping the local housing market and sending house prices into a second collapse.

That second tsunami isn’t happening, according to an analysis by the North County Times.

A house-price crash precipitated a series of foreclosure spikes in 2007 and 2008, leaving banks holding thousands of houses and struggling to hire staff to process them.

After 2009, real estate agents and some analysts became convinced that lenders were holding off on foreclosures, and sitting on foreclosed properties in order to prop up prices, creating a “shadow inventory.”

They feared lenders would have to process and release all those houses —- sending house prices, which have been bouncing along a price bottom for two years, into another downward spiral.

Instead, the number of homes in default has been steadily declining in the region, thanks to a host of programs from government and private banks and a turn toward short sales, in which borrowers sell their properties for less than they owe.

And once lenders have foreclosed on properties, they have moved quickly to sell them, so the stock of properties held by banks is declining, according to an analysis of foreclosure data by the North County Times.

Wolff has plenty of data for North County San Diego in his article. There isn’t as much “shadow inventory” as feared.




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