Report Shows Strong National Housing Market, Pre-Recession Foreclosure Lows

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The latest numbers from ATTOM Data Solutions show that foreclosures are up 42 percent in Q1 2020 from the previous quarter, but are down 3 percent from the same time a year ago.

The U.S. Foreclosure Market Report saw a total of 156,253 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings during the first quarter of 2020, as well as a total of 46,800 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings in March 2020, down 3 percent from the previous month and down 20 percent from March 2019 — the third consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in U.S. foreclosure activity. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA is still 79 percent below pre-recession foreclosure levels.

“This latest sign of the strong national housing market, however, comes with a huge caveat because it captures the pivotal month when millions of Americans started losing their jobs because of the economic fallout connected to the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. “Banks are temporarily holding off on foreclosures and we expect this will bring foreclosures even lower for at least the next few quarters.  However, with unemployment and other distress factors hitting the economy now, the numbers could rise significantly later this year and into next, depending on how many people can’t keep up with their payments.”

If you think you may not be able to pay your mortgage, homeowners are urged to contact their lender to discover their options. Homeowners with federally backed mortgages are protected from foreclosure at this time and can request a forbearance due to financial hardship.

Buyers Are Biting Without Setting Foot Inside Properties

Virtual and VR tours are becoming more and more common.

About one-quarter of Realtors who executed contracts last week had at least one client who hauled out their checkbook without physically seeing the property. That’s according to a new survey by the National Association of Realtors that takes a snapshot of buyer behavior.

Clients who shopped for their next home remotely toured — either virtually or in person – a media of just three homes before putting a contract on one — a third of a typical buyer’s usual perusal.

“Expect second quarter home sales activity to slow down with the broad observance of stay-at-home orders, but sales will pick up when the economy reopens as many potential home buyers and sellers indicate they’re still in the market or will be in a couple of months” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Home prices remain stable as deals continue to happen with the growing use of new technology tools. Remarkably, 10% of Realtors report the same level of or even more business activity now than before the economic lockdown.”

Texas Gov. Announces Phased Plan to Reopen State Businesses

Gov. Greg Abbott’s address began on a hopeful note, saying that thanks to the solidarity of Texans in this fight, we will be able to “corral the coronavirus.” However, to minimize the long-term financial impact to businesses throughout the second-largest state in the nation, Abbott has appointed what he called a “strike force” that will work to reopen the state in measured phases with the help of “data and doctors.”

Notably, the first restrictions that will loosen in the next week include surgery restrictions at medical facilities, retail stores to provide product pickups, and state parks will reopen. Additionally, the governor announced that all schools in the state would remain closed for the spring semester.

However, there was no mention of any increase in testing levels, one point of criticism from state legislators. Abbott’s current plan only includes doctors on the advisory panel that will help find a way to “comprehensively test and trace COVID-19 that will enable Texas to gradually and safely” return to business as usual, he said.

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Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for CandysDirt.com. While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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