Each month, Alan from Seattle Bubble religiously posts the Notice of Trustee Sale (NTS) numbers for King County. I’m very appreciative of his work because it saves me time each month so thanks again, Alan. Cruising SB last night, I found Alan’s numbers alarming for June: 1615 NTS were filed. Here are more numbers from Alan:
King County Notice of Trustee Sales
6/2009 – 1615
6/2008 – 576
6/2007 – 304
6/2006 – 299
180% YOY (280% of last year)
The last few months:
6/2009 – 1615
5/2009 – 992
4/2009 – 938
If we’re seeing 180% increase year over year with notice of trustee sale filings, then where are the REOs? Well as it turns out, if you compare the trustee deed filings for the same month, you’ll see that a low percentage of Notice of Trustee Sales actually go all the way through the auction process. Here’s comparison data courtesy of Jess and Julie Lyda, which gives us a visual comparing NTS v. Trustee Deeds, which means title changed hands from the owner in default to a new owner. That new owner could be the bank/lender or someone who was the high bidder at the trustee sale. Here’s a link to a larger image of the graph.
So what assumptions can we make given facts that we already know? We already know that banks and lenders are postponing the majority of trustee sales in King County. We don’t have any data as to how long postponements are lasting. If a homeowner is trying for a short sale or loan modification, we do know that the average wait time for banks to process these requests could easily be months based on nationwide reports from Realtors, home buyers and homeowners. We also know that there are many banks who have turned into zombies, waiting for their number to be called and the regulators to show up on a Friday afternoon. Postponing the losses from a foreclosure means the bankers can collect a paycheck for a few more months.
We also know that 50% of all loan modifications re-default by the 6 month mark. This pushes the foreclosure out longer and increases the overall losses to the bank/lender. Another assumption we can make comparing data from Alan and Julie is that hundreds of REOs will be coming back on the market each month, which will put further pressure on home values. Prime delinquencies are starting to surge and so are delinquencies in the upper home price ranges.
With what we know, home values will continue to feel pressure from many angles including higher inventory levels, continued tightening of underwriting guidelines, the lower prices of REO resales and short sales.
More on home price declines:
House Prices: The Long Tail from Calculated Risk
Case Shiller: Anemic Spring Bounce in April from Seattle Bubble
CR explains the difference between a bottom in housing starts and new construction homes and a bottom in residential resale homes in this post; Housing: Two Bottoms.