By STEVE BROWN
Real Estate Editor
North Texas home foreclosure respite is best in a decade
The home foreclosure deluge is definitely slowing in North Texas.
Foreclosure filings in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were down 16 percent for April from a year earlier, according to Addison-based Foreclosure Listing Service.
And so far in 2011, foreclosure postings for the year are 4 percent lower than in the same period in 2010. It’s the first such decline in more than a decade for the D-FW market.
“The last time I saw a decrease in year-to-date postings for this four-month period was in 2000,” Foreclosure Listing Service CEO George Roddy said Thursday in the report. “Last year, foreclosure notices for the first four auctions of the year reached a new record high with 22,305 postings.”
So far in 2011, 21,387 home foreclosure filings have been recorded in the four-county area.
The filings for April’s foreclosure sales were finalized just this week.
Dallas County had the largest share — 2,143 postings. But that was down 18 percent from a year ago, Foreclosure Listing Service said. Foreclosure filings were down 20 percent in Collin County.
D-FW filings for April were down for the second month in a row. Foreclosure postings fell 9 percent in March.
Still, almost 5,200 homes are currently threatened with forced sale by lenders to repay debts.
And Roddy warns that despite the recent improvements, the number of potentially troubled home loans in North Texas remains high.
“The fallout from this foreclosure crisis is going to take a long time to work through,” he said. “Until a significant amount of workers begin to be reemployed, there is simply no reason for foreclosure postings to decline.”
Record keeping and procedural problems, which have plagued some big lenders, have also caused a reduction in the volume of home foreclosures, analysts say. Some of those declines may be temporary.
Only about a third of the homes set for foreclosure each month are actually sold by lenders. In many cases the forced sale is delayed or the borrower reaches a new agreement with the mortgage company.
Last year, lenders filed for foreclosure on a record 63,835 D-FW area homes — up 4 percent from 2009.
In a larger number of this year’s foreclosures, the homes are worth less than what the borrowers owe on the property, Roddy said.
For April’s foreclosures, 27 percent of the properties posted for sale were “upside down” — or appraised for less than the debt.
“Over the last year, as residential posting levels eased somewhat, both the volume and percentage of homes posted in an upside-down situation have grown worse,” Roddy said.
A recent study by CoreLogic estimates that about 12 percent of Dallas-area homeowners with mortgages owe more than their home is worth. That’s around half the nationwide rate of negative home equity.
Roddy Comments: This is a good sign for the DFW economy, although foreclosure numbers are down lender/underwriting criteria continue to be at a “Walk on Water” structure. Buyer candidates continue to struggle to qualify for purchase and/or refinance loans. I believe that foreclosure number will stay at this level that we are seeing for April 2011 for the next 12-months. Yes, we will see an increase and decrease of averages, but I believe the worst of the foreclosure volume is BEHIND US. There are national factors that will affect the number of foreclosures but all in all, I think a quarter stretch of decreasing foreclosure volume is a good sign for the DFW economy.
George Roddy, Jr.