Yuma housing market showing improvement
Data reflects statewide trend
The housing market in Yuma County is showing signs of improvement, reflecting a trend statewide of a decline in the number of foreclosure activity in recent months.
The number of Arizona homes in some stage of the foreclosure process dropped again in October compared to a year ago, and homes actually repossessed by banks also dipped.
Data released last week by foreclosure tracking firm RealtyTrac (http://www.realtytrac.com) shows lenders actually repossessed about 2,821 Arizona homes in September, 600 fewer homes than in September and 32.7 percent less than in October 2011. New foreclosure filings rose slightly to about 3,900 last month.
RealtyTrac says one in every 420 Arizona homes was in some stage of the foreclosure process last month. However, there was a 36 percent drop in homes statewide being repossessed or receiving initial foreclosure filings in October compared to the same month in 2011.
Closer to home, Yuma Realtor Carol Engler measures foreclosure activity here by the number of pages of default notices. And there's been a significant drop in the last few months, she said.
In October, there were 67 pages of notices of default, with three homes on each page for a total of 200.
“That's down by 30 percent in three months,” Engler said. It's a trend she is confident will carry into the new year.
“Absolutely, the trend is downward and it will continue,” she said, basing some of that optimism on the fact that it's past the five years when the large number of adjusted rate loans were due to change.
But she also pointed to the declining number of default notices in recent months.
In September, there were 76 pages of default notices for a total of 228 notices; in August the number was 94 pages for a total of 282 notices and July the total was 291 notices.
“It's nice to not be talking doom and gloom,” she said Wednesday. “It was just another cycle, and we've ridden this one out.”
She likened the real estate market bubble and crash over the last several years to “a two-year party and a 10-year hangover that is finally going away.”
There's actually some homes on the market that aren't foreclosures or short sales, Engler said. For example, a house listed with her went on the market Monday, she received multiple offers on Tuesday and on Wednesday it sold.
“And the values are increasing fabulously.”
Meanwhile, a short sale house started in January has finally closed nine months later — to a cash buyer.
“That's insane,” she said. “There's no reason for that.”
She also believes that banks would rather foreclose than work with homeowners and pursue a short sale because foreclosures are easier for them.
Paul Shedahl of Yuma Statistics offers another perspective. He believes banks are becoming more aggressive about foreclosures vs. short sales because of some improvement in the prices that foreclosed houses are going for.
“The banks foreclose, they get a clear title and then can pursue a sale of the property,” he said.
Shedahl also believes the “shadow inventory” of houses has been dealt with.
“We'll get the foreclosures taken care of and move on,” he said. “It's fragile, but it is a moving market.”