Foreclosed Properties Driving Home Sales: Report

The latest data released late last week by Radar Logic, Inc., a New York-based real estate data and analytics company, make it pretty clear that so-called “motivated” home sales — sales at foreclosure auction and sales of foreclosed properties by banks — are now driving key real estate metrics in nearly all of the nation’s major housing markets. According to the company’s latest RPX Monthly Housing Market Report, year-over-year price declines in November accelerated in all 25 MSAs covered. “This trend was anticipated due to the increased influence of ‘motivated sales’ at substantial discounts relative to other elements of the market,” observed Michael Feder, Radar Logic’s CEO. “That said, there are some interesting signals which may indicate that we are getting closer to some stability in the housing markets.” Price declines during November reflected the typical seasonal pattern for winter months, but the declines were made more severe by large and growing concentrations of motivated sales relative to total transactions. On the whole across the 25 MSAs, motivated transactions increased from 28 percent of total transactions in October to 31 percent in November, Radar Logic reported. But with the price declines came buyers — something many markets have been missing for well over a year now. Transaction counts in the RPX MSAs increased in Nov. 2008 versus Nov. 2007 in 13 of the 25 MSAs tracked by the firm, and the rate of decline decreased in eight more. “This is an interesting development in that it bucks the historical pattern,” Feder said. The RPX data, which is normalized to a per-square-foot price, serves to make a trading market for housing futures that has become a hedging instrument for plenty of the funds now looking to ply themselves into the distressed residential mortgage markets. Radar Logic reported that total volume in the 15 months of trading on contracts that settle against RPX daily home price values in key local markets is now approaching $3 billion. The contracts traded — a composite, New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Miami — show a capital market expectation of further declines in 2009 followed by stabilization in 2010, based on trading activity. In general, traders seem to expect that prices in these key markets could stabilize near 2002/2003 levels, Radar Logic said. To read the full report, click here. Write to Paul Jackson at

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