ActivePaper Archive D-FW foreclosures are like hen’s teeth - The Dallas Morning News, 2016-12-23

REAL ESTATE

D-FW foreclosures are like hen’s teeth

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With home prices in Dallas-Fort Worth at record levels, you have to hunt hard to find a foreclosed house.

Of more than 18,000 properties on the North Texas market, fewer than 450 are foreclosed homes listed for sale with real estate agents in North Texas.

To date in 2016, 3,409 lender-owned properties have been sold, said Bill Head of MetroTex Realtors Association. “In the same time last year, we sold 4,834. And in 2014, there were 6,417 sales.

“That’s a significant decline.”

Through the first 11 months of 2016, fewer than 4 percent of home sales by real estate agents have been foreclosed properties.

In 2010 at the worst point of the housing crash, over 30 percent of area home sales were formerly foreclosed properties.

The D-FW area never saw the flood of foreclosures experienced in California, Florida and “sand states” like Nevada and Arizona.

But distressed property purchases once accounted for a big share of the housing market here.

Thousands of North Texas homeowners who were upside down in their mortgages lost their properties to forced sales. Investors snapped up properties all over the area as lenders liquidated the troubled homes.

In 2010, the four-county D-FW area had nearly 64,000 foreclosure filings, a record.

This year, foreclosure postings have added up to fewer than 14,000, the lowest in over a decade, according to Addison-based Foreclosure Listing Service.

Annual foreclosure filings in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties dropped more than 10 percent in 2016, the listing service found.

With home values in North Texas up more than 40 percent in the last four years, I’m surprised foreclosure filings aren’t even lower.

In the Dallas area, Core-Logic reports, fewer than 1 percent of homes with loans have negative equity, meaning the mortgage is higher than what the property is worth.

Houses with equity are much less likely to fall into foreclosure.

“The values have gone up so much, how can you be upside down in a house?” asked Ted Wilson of Dallas-based housing analyst Residential Strategies Inc. “You should have overcome any deficiency you had.

“Foreclosures ought to be close to an all-time low.”

CoreLogic estimates that only about 0.4 percent of Dallas-area homes are in foreclosure.

And fewer than 2 percent of home loans in the area are 90 days or more late with payments.

Nationwide, the 90-day delinquency rate is about 2.6 percent.

At the bottom of the recession, sales of thousands of previously foreclosed homes helped the residential market recover and put a floor under the North Texas housing market.

These days, with local home prices at record levels and demand for houses outstripping supply, foreclosed properties are few and far between.

Twitter: @SteveBrownDMN