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Abandoned Homes Continuing to Hold Back the Market?

April 24th, 2013 Comments off

According to nationalmortgagenews, banks are the ones walking away from vacant homes these days, starting but not completing the foreclosure process because they do not want the responsibility for maintaining the property, resulting in hundreds of thousands of homes being withheld from the market. In some cases, homeowners who have already left the property are being hit with back taxes, repairs, insurance and unpaid debt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, an economist in the community development department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, states “We’re seeing more and more, banks getting a judgment to sell a home but not taking it to a foreclosure sale. It may cost more to cure the back taxes and bring the property up to code than they could ever get from selling the property itself.” Data from RealtyTrac indicates 35 percent of the roughly one million homes in the foreclosure pipeline are abandoned and the servicer has not taken title to the property. Last year the Federal Reserve issued directives requiring servicers to notify borrowers and municipalities when they decide not to pursue foreclosure, but no time line was given and enforcement can be difficult. MHProNews has learned this may be contributing to the increase in prices on existing homes. Says Ruhi Maker, a senior staff attorney at the nonprofit Empire Justice Center in Rochester, N.Y. “I have long been convinced that the current run up in home prices is a false high. Once all these foreclosures are through the system we could see another decline in prices.”

(Image credit: condometropolis)