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More Worries About the Foreclosure Overhang

The difference is that the MBA is considering not only foreclosures but people who really want or need to sell and are still holding on in hopes of a better market. This shadow inventory will hit many markets upon any sign of bottoming and recovery, thus leading to halting improvement. Yes, the article dutifully recites recent statistics: that lenders now own nearly 900,000 homes, double the level at the outset of the crisis. And it describes badly clogged pipelines, with foreclosures in Chicago and Miami running twice the level of sales and eight times in Atlanta (which has one of the fastest foreclosures processes in the US, belying the notion that faster foreclosures lead to more rapid market clearing). Some of the blame for the overhang is attributed to foreclosure investigations, but that’s spurious. Recall that it was the banks themselves that halted foreclosures when the robosigning scandal broke last fall, and the adverse press, and later investigative pile-on, has led them to try harder to comply with the law (what a concept!). For those who had been paying attention, a pile up in the courts was well underway due to increasing evidence of servicers and securitizers running roughshod over well understood requirements.

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