The real estate market as a whole is making progress according to many recent statistics. What keeps housing experts on their toes is the uneven nature of the improvement. Take the Washington, D.C. metro region as an example. There are pockets in D.C. itself, in Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland where buyers waving mortgage approval letters are conducting bidding wars for choice single family homes, townhouses and condominiums, driving prices up and up. Like in the good old days. Yet, in the same region the reverse of that scenario often plays out in many other neighborhoods. There real estate values are still weak or even falling and mortgage delinquencies are common.
To mirror that landscape RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure information boutique, has compiled a noteworthy report saying that several metropolitan areas actually saw an increase in foreclosure starts and REOs – real estate owned – in 2012. It identified 20 metros for the sin list. To get on it the area had to have at least 20% hike in foreclosure starts and REOs together for 2012 and a minimum of 2,000 of them through November of last year. Based on that criteria RealtyTrac foresees a rise in foreclosures in 2013 in these 20 metros that will end up on the market as short sales or REOs.
Florida easily dominates the list, placing six cities in the top nine. Palm Bay, FL, led the charge with about 110% jump in mortgage foreclosures in 2012, with Lakeland, FL, coming in second and showing about 70% growth. The other four were Tampa, Panama City, Pensacola and Jacksonville, the last of which had a slightly over 30% increase.
North Carolina also has multiple metros on the list, four out of the 20. Raleigh is third overall with about 60% escalation to keep local housing and home loan authorities consulting their favorite star readers for clues on when this madness might end. Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Greensboro are the other three.
The original four hardest-hit states during the infamous mortgage and housing meltdown were Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada and as a surprise Arizona, California and Nevada cities are downright no-shows on this latest RealtyTrac’s report. Real estate markets across them have perked up enough to avoid it and managed to make room for others that initially escaped major damage but are now caught in the still prevailing imbalances. Despite the fresh optimism several current housing metrics display it’s quite evident that it’s not over until the fat lady sings. Seemingly it’ll be several more years before the mortgage and real estate markets across the nation will settle down to a steady pattern of well-being.