Bank Owned Properties On The Rise in USA

Image Source: Mike Mozart

Image Source: Mike Mozart

New statistics show a dramatic increase in American bank repossessed real estate in 2015.

According to real estate data compiler RealtyTrac, 50 percent more US homes were repossessed by American lenders in April 2015, compared to a year earlier. Even California which has a very average rate of foreclosure saw bank owned properties rise 74 percent between March and April 2015 alone.

Among the states with the highest residential foreclosure rates are Florida, Nevada, Maryland, New Jersey and Tennessee. Data from the MBA and Inman News shows that overall commercial and multifamily mortgage defaults fell, with the exception of Fannie Mae backed loans, which saw default rates for those 60 days or more past due rise 0.4 to 0.9 percent.

These statistics may seem startling given how rosy a picture the media has painted of the American real estate recovery over the last couple of years.

So what’s going on?

The bulk of the current distressed assets and loans are a legacy of the downturn of 10 years ago. It can take 900 days or more to process foreclosures in some states and that’s when banks and lenders are serious about pursuing them. There are some newer defaults, but after a closer look, these are likely re-defaults that are the result of shabby loan modifications or borrowers that have been in trouble for a while, and can just no longer afford to pay the mortgage.

Banks have been dragging their feet on pursuing foreclosure and repossessing properties as well. In some cases banks were hoping to cash in on a rising market, while minimizing holding costs. In other cases it has been due to accounting and regulatory restrictions, which have forced banks to slowly, trickle distressed properties and assets onto the market.

Now the timing to liquidate these assets appears ripe, especially with peak summer buying season coming up for the American real estate market.

The National Association of Realtors reports that increases in home searches have kept pace with defaults. Marketing times for homes has actually continued to drop in 2015, even though more inventory have come online.

Ultimately, this indicates a unique moment for American real estate investors to take advantage of distressed asset prices, and high demand on the retail end.