Dallas-Fort Worth home foreclosure filings hit lowest in a decade


The number of homes posted for foreclosure in the Dallas-Fort Worth area has fallen to the lowest level in a decade.

The booming North Texas economy, rising home prices and lenders’ changes in handling troubled properties contributed to the improved numbers, economists say.

For all of 2013, fewer than 28,500 homes were posted for foreclosure in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties.

That’s a 48 percent drop from 2012, and less than half the number in 2010, when the recession and housing crash caused 64,000 D-FW homes to be posted for auction. The 2013 figures include postings for next month’s auction.

The data is compiled by Addison-based Foreclosure Listing Service.

“First and foremost, the reason for the improvement is the simply better market,” said James Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “We quit losing jobs in about January of 2010. And job loss historically is the No. 1 cause of foreclosure.”

Rising home prices also helped. North Texas residents who otherwise might have let their property go into foreclosure kept up the payments or sold the home.

More than 230,000 North Texas homes were posted for foreclosure between 2008 and 2011. But the percentage of homes foreclosed on here was much smaller than in many coastal and Western markets.

“We weren’t immune,” Gaines said. “But unless you were one of the ones that lost your house, the market came through reasonably well.

“Our market never fell to the point foreclosures became a real drag on the economy.”

At the worst of the recession, home values in North Texas were down about 10 percent from the 2007 peak.

Median home prices are now at record levels in D-FW, and overall prices are about 5 percent ahead of where they were before the economic downturn, the latest housing studies show.

“While foreclosures were less of a problem here than in other areas of the country, they definitely held our housing market back,” said D’Ann Petersen, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “Certainly, there are neighborhoods that are still feeling the effects … but the impact on overall home values in North Texas is no longer an issue.”

Petersen said the North Texas housing market remains healthy, based on fundamentals such as inventories, construction levels and price gains.

The number of North Texas homes selling is running almost 20 percent ahead of last year at this time. And the number of houses listed for sale is at a record low. The sharp decline in foreclosures in 2013 has reduced distressed properties hitting the market.

Foreclosure postings for next month’s auction are down 35 percent in D-FW from where they were in December 2012.

The biggest drop for December came in Collin County, down 44 percent from a year earlier.

Dallas County foreclosure filings are down 29 percent year-over-year for next month’s auctions.

D-FW home foreclosure rates are back to “normal” levels, George Roddy, CEO of Foreclosure Listing Service, said.

“It’s about time,” Roddy said.

Not all homes posted for foreclosure each month are actually sold by the lenders. Many times the foreclosure is delayed or avoided.

Along with a better housing market, foreclosures in North Texas have also declined because lenders are working harder to keep troubled borrowers in their homes.

If that doesn’t work, they are often choosing a negotiated short sale of the property rather than a foreclosure, real estate agents say.

“They switched to short sales and anything that didn’t require formal foreclosure,” Gaines said. “Between all that legal pressure on the institutions and the new regulatory environment, the banks have gotten more gun-shy toward foreclosures.

“We still don’t know if we have a large number of problem properties that are being carried by the lenders.”




Source http://www.dallasnews.com/business/residential-real-estate/20131119-dallas-fort-worth-home-foreclosure-filings-hit-lowest-in-a-decade.ece

Courtesy of Natasha Briggs, Realtor with Farrier & Associates
214-732-4512 I http://www.natashatbriggs.com


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