Distressed Sales Drop Down in May

Distressed sales, which include REO and short sales, accounted for 8.4 percent of total home sales nationally in May 2016, according to a recent report from CoreLogic. This was a decrease of 2.1 percentage points from May 2015 as well as a decrease of 1 percentage point from April 2016.

The report states that within the distressed category, REO sales accounted for 5.4 percent of total home sales in May 2016 and short sales accounted for 3 percent. CoreLogic also shows that the REO sales share was 1.7 percentage points below that of May 2015. It is also the lowest for the month of May since 2007. Additionally, the short sales share fell below 4 percent in mid-2014 and has remained in the 3-4 percent range since then.

CoreLogic says that at its peak in January 2009, distressed sales totaled 32.4 percent of all sales with REO sales representing 27.9 percent of that share. They state that while distressed sales play an important role in clearing the housing market of foreclosed properties, they sell at a discount to non-distressed sales, and when the share of distressed sales is high, it can pull down the prices of non-distressed sales. Additionally, the report notes that there will always be some level of distress in the housing market, and by comparison, the pre-crisis share of distressed sales was traditionally about 2 percent. CoreLogic believes that if the current year-over-year decrease in the distressed sales share continues, it will reach a “normal” mark of 2 percent by mid-2019.

In a further breakdown of the data, CoreLogic reports that all but eight states recorded lower distressed sales shares in May 2016 compared with a year earlier. Specifically, they say that Maryland had the largest share of distressed sales of any state at 19.4 percent in May 2016, and this was followed by Connecticut at 18.5 percent, Michigan at 17.8 percent, Illinois a 16 percent, and finally Florida at 15.8 percent.

In contrast, CoreLogic reports that North Dakota had the smallest distressed sales share at 2.5 percent. They also report that oil states continued to see year-over-year declines in their distressed sales shares in May 2016. Specifically, Texas saw a 1.3 percentage point decrease, and Oklahoma and North Dakota both saw a 0.1 percentage point decrease. In addition, Florida had a 5.5 percentage point drop in its distressed sales share from a year earlier. This was the largest decline of any state.

California had the largest improvement of any state from its peak distressed sales share. It fell 60.4 percentage points from its January 2009 peak of 67.5 percent. CoreLogic reports that while some states stand out as having high distressed sales shares, only North Dakota and the District of Columbia are close to their pre-crisis levels Both are within one percentage point of those pre-crisis levels.

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