Last week in in a post entitled “PW County Inventory-What’s Missing from our Numbers I questioned the market reports that suggested that our local market had made a positive turn with significantly lower inventory. Since most of the larger banks had put a moratorium on foreclosures last fall we could see the impact in Prince William County. Inventory decreased, bidding wars started and houses flew off the market.
Now the floodgates of foreclosures appear to be ready to open again. And this time some analysts are suggesting up to 700,000 homes could be in this next round of foreclosures.
“J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac all say they have increased foreclosure activity in recent weeks. Those companies say they have lifted internal moratoriums which temporarily halted foreclosures.” WSJ 4/15/09
Driving around neighborhoods where foreclosures have been prevalent in our area you can find houses that have been sitting empty for months. You can only imagine what might be lurking inside a property that hasn’t had water, electricity or gas on for the entire winter. Recently while completing a BPO I found a home that had obviously become party central. The home was littered with empty beer cans, cigarette butts and other unmentionables left strewn throughout the house.
Are these numbers real? Only the lenders know how many homes they have been holding during the moratorium. However we have to be realistic and expect that later this spring we will see an increase in the number of foreclosure properties hitting the market in Northern Virginia. Hopefully it won’t bring significant price decreases in prices to some areas that were starting to see a slow recovery.