Foreclosures Dropped Like a Rock in September

It’s time once again to expand on our preview of foreclosure activity with a more detailed look at September’s stats in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties. First up, the Notice of Trustee Sale summary:

September 2011
King: 499 NTS, down 62% YOY
Snohomish: 259 NTS, down 59% YOY
Pierce: 317 NTS, down 56% YOY

Foreclosure notices fell to their lowest levels since 2008 in the Seattle area in September. Could this be the big drop we have been expecting as a result of the latest foreclosure legislation passed in Olympia? We’ll have to wait a few months to see if things jump back up once the effects of this legislation have been absorbed by the market.

Here’s your interactive Tableau dashboard updated with the latest foreclosure data:

The percentage of households in the chart above is determined using OFM population estimates and household sizes from the 2000 Census. King County came in at 1 NTS per 1,657 households, Snohomish County had 1 NTS per 1,054 households, and Pierce had 1 NTS for every 1,012 households (higher is better).

According to foreclosure tracking company RealtyTrac, Washington’s statewide foreclosure rate for June of one foreclosure for every 910 housing units was 20th hightest among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Note that RealtyTrac’s definition of “in foreclosure” is much broader than what we are using, and includes Notice of Default, Lis Pendens, Notice of Trustee Sale, and Real Estate Owned.

Here’s a heat map of Washington counties from RealtyTrac:

[heat map removed since it started forwarding everyone to a RealtyTrac signup page]

Hit the jump for a larger version of the chart that shows the percentage of households in each county receiving a foreclosure notice each month:

Note: The graphs above are derived from monthly Notice of Trustee Sale counts gathered at King, Snohomish, and Pierce County records. For a longer-term picture of King County foreclosures back to 1979, hit this chart and drag the date slider to its full range. For the full legal definition of what a Notice of Trustee Sale is and how it fits into the foreclosure process, check out RCW 61.24.040. The short version is that it is the notice sent to delinquent borrowers that their home will be repossessed in 90 days.

  

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

16 comments:

  1. 1

    I’ve Blogged This Issue Before

    I presented Kary with the July 2011 mediation/foreclousre bill admistration description and both of us couldn’t make heads or tails of it, probably not as bad as the phonebook health care reform bill nobody even read, but in that ballpark for time tabling its effect on foreclosure expediencies.

    Your previous blog adds another possible “root cause”; a “good chunk” of the foreclosed homeowners are just sitting and waiting for the sherriff eviction, while lowering the foreclosure rate.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  2. 2
    Scotsman says:

    Okanogan county- leading the way in financial stability with one (1) foreclosure per 20,712 homes. And you can get a real house with some land for $200K or so. Anyone remember sunshine?

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Omak/42-Peacock-Ln-98841/home/39541186

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  3. 3
    No Name Guy says:

    More of just delaying the inevitable…..

    When will the fools learn. Just get it over. Clear the market. Foreclose on, and wipe the debt of the past mistakes.

    Until the above happens, this economic malaise will continue. Lost decade? It’ll be more like a lost generation.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  4. 4
    Scott Weitz says:

    Thank you Foreclosure Fairness Act!

    We’ve submitted over 30 mediation requests and we’re not that big of a firm – there will be large drops in foreclosures over the next few months, then the foreclosures will kick in again.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  5. 5

    RE: Scott Weitz @ 4 – How do they find you so early in the process? Do the notices actually work? Back when I was practicing most people tended to procrastinate. People would be calling attorneys the day before their foreclosure sale.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  6. 6
    Jonness says:

    By No Name Guy @ 3:

    More of just delaying the inevitable…..

    When will the fools learn. Just get it over. Clear the market. Foreclose on, and wipe the debt of the past mistakes.

    Until the above happens, this economic malaise will continue. Lost decade? It’ll be more like a lost generation.

    I agree. Let the market adjust downward to the point people start snapping up bargains. The market can’t come back while the govt. continues to prop up prices above what people can afford to pay. How can prices begin to appreciate again when they are too high to begin with? People buy houses when they believe they can leverage money and gain appreciation against the large leveraged amount. Who in their right mind wants to leverage an enormous amount of money into a collapsing market?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  7. 7
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: Scott Weitz @ 4

    Scott I really think you maybe missing the ball on this one:

    http://trusteedelay.com/?gclid=CKmioqWI6qsCFQgaQgodoguCHA

    These Lawyers are making a killing! I see a decade ahead of this CASH COW for you!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  8. 8

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 7 – Trustees in Washington state would probably laugh at you, the Attorney General probably sue you to recover all funds paid, and then the Bar Association would probably sanction you. But other than that, it would be a great money maker.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  9. 9

    By softwarengineer @ 1:

    I presented Kary with the July 2011 mediation/foreclousre bill admistration description and both of us couldn’t make heads or tails of it, probably not as bad as the phonebook health care reform bill nobody even read, but in that ballpark for time tabling its effect on foreclosure expediencies..

    It’s not so much that you can’t determine what the law requires, but determining how exactly it will affect the overall processing of foreclosures is a bit tough. It’s not a simple 30 or 60 day delay in virtually every foreclosure processed, as was the case with the prior legislation.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  10. 10
    David Losh says:

    RE: Jonness @ 6

    We have past the point of people “snapping up bargains.”

    You would have to be brain dead to take on a property liability today.

    I agree you should own your personal residence because there will be a blood bath in the rental markets.

    We over built, continue to build, and have a set idea that by building more our economy will improve. It’s just housing.

    With the internet the need for commercial space has tanked. Amazon, or any company like it, can operate in the middle of the desert, or in any country.

    There is a warehouse section in Dallas that is all artist lofts. I asked about the shift in use and a broker there explained no one warehouses any more, everybody ships direct. My lawyers office is in a warehouse in Everett.

    I’m sorry money is still changing hands with property, but the value of that property will just continue to tank. There’s never been another time like this in history, but now that it’s happened it’s over.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  11. 11
    Scott Weitz says:

    Ray @ 7 – I agree with Kary @ 9; Most of those are a scam that will waste the clients money and time

    Kary @ 5 – great question; initially when the law went active, we could request a mediation at any time prior to the Trustee Sale.

    Now, if the NOD was received after July 22, the home owner must be proactive in requesting a Mediation w/i 30 days of the Mediation letter. I fully expect Mediation requests to fall dramatically as most people tend to ignore the letters and certainly don’t read them closely enough to learn of their Mediation rights – many will not take the initiative to contact a HUD Counselor or an Attorney who knows what they are doing.

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  12. 12

    RE: Scott Weitz @ 11 – I didn’t remember that bit of retroactivity. While I like the idea of it, from a debtor’s rights perspective, from an administration of the program point of view it probably created a lot of headaches.

    Imagine trying to start a brand new program that might see 50-100 cases a month when operational, and then having 400 cases the first month! That’s when you’d want to have only 50.

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  13. 13
    Scott Weitz says:

    Kary – yeah – the DOC did a good job handling it, but I do think it blew away their expectations.

    Luckily, most of the Trustees were open to pushing back sales relatively easily (with the exception of Recontrust- (BAC’s sub) – they were a train wreck).

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  14. 14
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: Scott Weitz @ 11

    wrong Scott. The time is already up on these folks. They only charge you if they are successful each month. Its just a last ditch effort after trying the loan mod game..

    With the people that I know who used these type companies they state to me …”Hey..I’d rather pay these guys a 1000 a month then my Mortgage for 4000.00…so I keep paying and they keep delaying…Its a win-win while we save…”

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  15. 15
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scott Weitz @ 13

    It looks to me like a mass mailing in July of notices for face to face mediations, or negotiations. After that you lose your rights?

    Come on, that makes no sense unless the loan is 100% non performing.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  16. 16
    Scott Weitz says:

    Ray@ 14-

    Yes, you are right in that sense.

    That said, I wouldn’t risk my bar license on frivolous law suits.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

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