Short Sales May Be Fading, But They Have Not Vanished
While home price appreciation has lifted many from underwater, millions of homeowners are not yet afloat. Short sales have declined, but they are still an important option for many struggling homeowners.
Short Sales Fade from the Foreground
In line with a recovering economy and home price appreciation, short sale activity has simmered down across the country. Short sales have made up less than 3 percent of home sales since mid 2014, according to data from CoreLogic.
Gregory Hagan, owner/broker of RE/MAX Alliance, says his metro area of Denver, Colorado, has charted the highest home price appreciation in the country for two years running. Thus, many previously underwater homeowners now have equity, and Hagan is able to work with those homeowners to sell their homes in other ways.
Likewise, John Fox of Fox Realty in Lancaster, Ohio, says, “Short sales are not as prevalent as they were in my area,” adding that each local market has its own economic factors at play.
Steven Terry, Realtor and REO specialist at Mark Hagan Real Estate Professionals, Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors, says, “Short sales have become almost non-existent because of property values rebounding to peak market values over the past 18 months.”
He added, “The only short sales we see are typically luxury homes with astronomical mortgage and second mortgage amounts that probably never checked out with regard to value.”
Millions Still Submerged Underwater
Despite the overall decline in short sale activity, millions of homeowners still owe more on their homes than their homes are worth—a condition ripe for short sale in some cases.
According to the latest numbers from RealtyTrac, 6.4 million properties—1.5 percent of all properties with a mortgage—are seriously underwater, meaning the mortgage loan on the property is at least 25 percent higher than the property is worth. It will take another five years for the majority of these properties to rise above water, according to Daren Blomquist, VP at RealtyTrac. In the meantime, a short sale may be a solution for some of these underwater homeowners.
5 Major Metros with the most seriously underwater homeowners:
- Las Vegas, Nevada (27.7 percent)
- Lakeland, Florida (24.4 percent)
- Cleveland, Ohio (24.2 percent)
- Akron, Ohio (22.5 percent)
- Orlando, Florida (22.2 percent)
5 Major Metros with the fewest seriously underwater homeowners:
- San Jose, California (1.8 percent)
- San Francisco, California (3.8 percent)
- Austin, Texas (3.9 percent)
- Portland, Oregon (4.2 percent)
- Boston, Massachusetts (4.2 percent)
How to Market Your Short Sale Skills
As a FORCE member, you are able to market your skills on the industry’s go-to source for short sale agents: The Short Sale Directory.
The Short Sale Directory exclusively features FORCE agents who also have their Short Sale Certification. It is a source for both servicers and homeowners seeking experienced local agents to help them navigate the short sale process.
Visit ShortSale.theFiveStar.com to fill out or update your profile, and if you haven’t already, be sure to obtain your Short Sale Certification.