Housing Inventory Creeps out of the Shadows

Paul Ausick

Foreclosed home
Source: Thinkstock
In January of this year, the shadow inventory of U.S. homes declined by 18% to 2.2 million units, from 2.6 million units in January 2012. Shadow inventory refers to the number of properties that are seriously delinquent, in foreclosure and held as real estate owned (REO) by mortgage servicers but not currently listed on multiple listing services.

As part of its report on shadow inventory, CoreLogic Inc. (NYSE: CLGX) notes:

The shadow inventory continued to drop at double the rate in January from prior-year levels. At this point in the recovery, we are seeing healthy reductions across much of the nation. As we move forward in 2013, we need to see more progress in Florida, New York, California, Illinois, and New Jersey which now account for almost half of the country’s remaining shadow inventory.

CoreLogic offered some highlights:

  • Of the 2.2 million units currently included in the shadow inventory, 1 million units are seriously delinquent, 798,000 are in some stage of foreclosure, and 342,000 are already REO properties.
  • The dollar value of the shadow inventory fell from $402 billion in January 2012 to $350 billion in January 2013 and fell from a total of $381 billion six months ago.
  • For the 12 months to January 2013, serious delinquencies fell 40% in Arizona, 33% in California, 27% in Colorado, 25% in Michigan, and 23% in Wyoming.

As further evidence of a continuing decline in shadow inventory, Lender Processing Services Inc. (NYSE: LPS) reports today that delinquencies (mortgage loans at least 30 days past due but not yet in foreclosure) dropped from 7.03% in January to 6.8% in February. A delinquency rate of 4.5% to 5% is considered normal.