Distress sales remaining steady
Ten percent of the homes for sale in Baltimore in the middle of the month were bank-owned foreclosures. That's exactly the same as it was a month earlier.
In fact, the share of listings that were "distress" -- foreclosures or short sales -- stayed steady across the region, from a low of 12 percent in Carroll County to a high of 22 percent in the city.
The percentage of these properties that are actually selling isn't changing much either, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems data analyzed by the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.
"Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on whether you view the glass as half full or half empty) the percentage of foreclosures and short sales has remained relatively constant over the past 4 months," Joseph T. "Jody" Landers III, executive vice president of the group, wrote me. "These data highlight the fact that the short sale process tends to drag on and on, while foreclosure sales are having an exaggerated affect on the market, and contributing to further price instability."
Though it's not a new trend, what's really striking is how popular foreclosures are. Particularly in the city. They're 10 percent of listings in Baltimore but 30 percent of all sales in the first seven months of the year. Four foreclosures are on the market per foreclosure sold -- a seller's market! -- compared with 14 for non-distress sales.
Short sales, now -- yikes:
For every short-sale settlement in the city, there are about 23 listings.
They're 12 percent of the homes for sale in Baltimore but just six percent of closed deals from January through July. (Some of it, as Landers notes, is that people are trying to close on listings but can't do it quickly. And I know that some of you have refused to make offers on short sales because you've heard it can take forever and end up falling apart.)
The difference between short-sale listings and sales isn't as dramatic in the suburbs. They're almost equal shares in Howard County, where 9 percent of sales were short vs. 10 percent of listings. And in Carroll, they're actually a bigger portion of sales than listings (9 percent vs. 6 percent).
Are you looking at bank-owned properties and/or short sales? Have you bought one?