Bill Morris: Perspective on Austin/Central Texas foreclosure rate

Perspective on Austin/Central Texas foreclosure rate

It has been a busy week, so I have not been keeping up with this site like I should.  I do want to offer some brief comments, however, about a couple of articles I just posted to AustinMarketInfo.com:

Foreclosure Activity Increases 4% in August 2010

Austin's foreclosure rate rises

First, an important point is concealed behind the first headline, and that good news is not at all prominent in the first paragraph:  Yes, the number of foreclosure filings was up from July to August, but that number is actually DOWN 5% from the same time last year!

In Austin, the news really is bad -- because any increase in foreclosure activity is bad.  Foreclosure filings in our market area are UP 27% compared to last year.  Keep in mind, though, that last year was a very low base for this calculation.  The foreclosure rate in Texas generally and in Austin/Central Texas specifically remain low.

The first article notes that 1 out of every 381 homeowners in the U.S. received some kind of foreclosure-related notice last month -- default notice, notice of auction, or repossession.  That means that 0.26% of American homeowners are in danger of losing their homes.

The second article points out that the ratio in Austin is 1 out of 536 -- 0.19% of all homeowners in our area.  As bad as a year-over-year increase of 27% is, the filing rate in Austin is still almost 30% lower than the national average!

Stated another way, in order for these two ratios to be right, then the rate of foreclosure filings in Austin was just a little more than half of the national rate in August 2009.  And keep in mind that the national average is heavily influenced by places like Nevada, with a 1-in-84 rate, and that five states -- California, Florida, Arizona, Michigan, and Illinois -- accounted for 50% of all of this activity nationwide in August 2010!

I do not want to minimize this issue -- it is serious, and one of the most painful things the families affected will go through in their financial lives.  Those of you who follow me, however, know that perspective is important to me, and I feel the need to paint a little more complete picture than newspaper headlines often do. 

One last note in that vein:  The national rate of 1-in-381 homeowners receiving default or foreclosure notices still leaves 99.7% that did NOT, and 99.8% of Austin property owners did NOT receive any such notices last month.

Bill F. Morris, ABR, CRS, CDPE, e-PRO, MBA
RE/MAX Capital City
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Comment balloon 0 commentsBill Morris • September 16 2010 04:36PM

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