Just in time for the annual Spring Home Buying Season, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to begin filling the store shelves with a brand-new stock of foreclosed homes. Without fanfare, on March 31 they both ended the four-month moratorium on foreclosure sales and evictions they had imposed on servicers of the mortgages they own.
Fannie Mae said in a brief statement from spokesman Brian Faith that “Fannie Mae’s suspension of foreclosure-related evictions concludes as of March 31, 2009. The company has in place special foreclosure sale requirements that take into account the Making Home Affordable program. A foreclosure sale may not occur on any Fannie Mae loan until the loan servicer verifies that the borrower is ineligible for a Home Affordable Modification and all other foreclosure prevention alternatives have been exhausted.”
Brad German, a spokesman for Freddie Mac, said he was “mystified” as to how anyone could be surprised by the ban’s expiration. The idea behind it was to give the government time to create homeowner rescue plans, and that’s been done, he said. Neither agency also expects a flood of homeowners out on the street because the ban is being lifted, he added. “For all practical purposes, people will be in their homes for a while,” despite the ban’s expiration, German said. Fannie and Freddie will need time to approach tenants and homeowners and figure out whether they are qualified for help, he said.
Still, this raises the possibility of a sizable influx of such homes coming to the market beginning as early as the end of this month. I’ve been noting in my recent posts (here and here) that the local inventory is shrinking when one normally expect it to be rising – perhaps this is one reason why, and we may see increases in inventory soon.
Here are some other comments about the situation:
From a post by Ben Martin today on VARBuzz.com (Virginia Association of Realtors):
Anecdotally, we’re hearing that because of the dearth of foreclosure activity, there’s actually very little inventory in the DC metro area. We hear there are buyers galore, many of them incentivized by the dramatic reduction in prices, low interest rates, and the first time homebuyer stimulus package. But the foreclosure activity is so low (and many sellers are unwilling to list their properties for sale, knowing that they can’t sell for what they need to make from the sale) that there’s very little out there for buyers to choose from.
Many industry experts are expecting a dramatic rise in foreclosures over the coming months as Freddie and Fannie have recently halted their foreclosure moratoriums. As this action trickles down to the field, six months worth of foreclosures could flood the market.
About a month ago, Cindy Jones on VaRealEstateTalk.com:
Last fall Freddie Mac along with other lenders put a moratorium on new foreclosure proceedings until the economic stimulus packages worked their way through Congress. Only those properties that had already been through the foreclosure process made their way to the MLS and not even all of those have been listed.
For example one agent in my office who handles Freddie Mac foreclosures has just now received the go ahead to list a few of the properties that had been through the foreclosure process last October and November. Even more interesting is that in one case the owner of the property is still living in the property five months after the foreclosure. A quick look through RealtyTrac.com shows a few hundred properties with the title transfers to a lender, yet none of them have made it to the market. A recent Friday Washington Post showed close to 300 Trustee Sales at the PW Courthouse alone and those properties haven’t hit the market yet either.
From a comment from “Brooks” on a post from Frank Llosa about the problem on FranklyRealty.com:
Today’s [4/21] Washington Post is actually kind of fat for a Tuesday edition. Then you realize that it sports a rather hefty Classified ads section. The “G” section is a solid 20 pages. But, almost all of it is real estate property foreclosure public notices. They start on page G1 and staggeringly run to page G19. They take up almost as much space as the 24-page “A” news and business section. However, employment ads take up less than one column on G19.
I saw this also, and today’s was pretty thick with them as well. Is this the start of a Sick Newspaper Alleviation Program (SNAP)?
My neighbors and I are all pleased to see that a foreclosed home on our little street sold early this week. Better to get them on the market and sold quickly than to have them sit empty for month after month.Kim Hannemann, Real Estate Consultant/Realtor®, Samson Realty Cell: 703-861-9234 • Fax: 703-896-5055 • Email: KimTheAgent@gmail.com
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