Duplex Foreclosure Data Looks Good: Or Does It?

duplex market better and worseIf we’re looking for signs the Minneapolis duplex and housing markets are getting better, today’s Realty Trac  report gave us the definitive yes and no answer.

Realty Trac’s foreclosure statistics for the month of May appeared on the surface to contain good news, but may, in fact, simply represent the calm before the storm.

Nationally, 214,927 properrties received default, auction or repossession notices in May. That breaks down to one in 605 households. That’s the least since November, 2007.

In Minnesota, 2,813 properties received these notifications, with 1,073 of those coming in Hennepin county.

There is no way to determine, at this point, how many of those properties were duplexes or investment property.

The good news in all of this is in all, foreclosure filings dropped 33 percent from May in 2010, and were down 2 percent from April of this year.

But is it?

According to Realty Trac CEO James Saccacio, “Even at a significantly lower level than a year ago, the new supply of REOs exceeds the amount being sold each month.”

(REO, by the way, stands for “Real Estate Owned”, meaning it’s owned by the bank.)

Of course, the lack of buyer activity Saccacio cited was reflected in housing prices sliding 3.6 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to the S & P/Case-Shiller index.

According to Realty Trac’s communications manager Daren Blomquist, the inventory of distressed homes nationally stands at 1.8 million, which if no additional foreclosures came on the market, would take three years to sell.

That puts us into 2014.

That is, IF no additional properties come on the market and IF unemployment doesn’t get any worse and IF interest rates don’t go up (as everybody’s forecasting they’re about to).

Talk about hedging our bets…