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It's been awhile since I've discussed the current state of the OBX Real Estate market in these pages. For the next few days, I'll be exploring several segments of our local market. I'll be using data compiled from others, as well as information gleaned from my own discussion with local bankers, mortgage lenders and actual/potential borrowers.
Above (please click on image) is a month by month of foreclosure notices as tracked by a local Realtor from the Currituck and Dare County Clerks of Court. Note that a foreclosure notice does not automatically translate into a foreclosed property. Between the time a notice is filed and actual foreclosure occurs, the Borrower might cure the deficiency by making back payments, renegotiate the loan terms with the lender, declare bankruptcy, or enter into a full or short sale of the subject property with another buyer. Also be aware that the below numbers are not categorized by type of property; I am not sure if this list is single family dwellings only, or if it also includes vacant lots, commercial real estate and time share properties.
Regardless of property type, the numbers are instructive. While the local housing crisis first manifested itself in 2005, when buyers and lenders disappeared, significant foreclosure action was kept at bay until late 2007. Thus, 2008 represented the first full year of foreclosure activity that was significantly above our historical experience. As the numbers show, 2008 started strong, peaked in the summer, and stabilized at a slightly lower volume in the third quarter. Even so, there were 650 foreclosed properties in 2008, the vast majority in Dare County.
2009 started slow, likely the result of political pressure on lenders to stall the rate of foreclosures and work with borrowers on modified loans. The hiatus was short-lived; by early spring monthly numbers far exceeded the prior year figures. Through November, a total of 944 notices had been filed, a 45% increase over 2008 with one full month to count remaining.
As the numbers are not moving in an upward or downward slope (look at June through November to see how they bounce around) we won't know until April of next year if we have peaked and foreclosures will begin to abate. Certainly October and November 2009 saw declines from the monthly highs, but September revealed a significant increase after declines in July.
While none of this is great news, I am still confused why buyers are absent from the market. I have some ideas, and I'll discuss those in the next post.