We knew the price stabilization was largely due to increased buying activity on the low end from the home buyer tax credit. The issue now, front and center, is foreclosures. We’ve already seen a few reports, and I expect we’ll see more, that show new foreclosures “stabilizing,” while bank repossessions are increasing.
First of all, the stabilization is at such a high rate that it’s clearly an unsustainable stabilization for the economic recovery. New foreclosure notices need to drop, not just bump around at their near-record highs. And frankly the bank repossession number is a much bigger deal, because that is going to translate into immediate inventory on the market.
Of course they do, but in Los Angeles at least, they’re getting a big incentive to dump it fast. L.A. last week passed a new city ordinance that fines banks, servicers, whoever owns the foreclosed property, up to $100,000 for letting the property fall into disrepair. We’ve heard and seen plenty of stories about run-down, stripped homes littering the landscape, with their overgrown lawns and broken front fences standing as glaring examples of what is not recovering in the housing market.