Foreclosure side effect: Bidding wars
A story in today’s Journal shows that the housing market is so broken that home prices are falling amid more competition for homes. The factors feeding the competition stem from the fact that many traditional homeowners can’t or won’t sell, leaving deal-hungry buyers clamoring for bank-owned foreclosures. The trend is apparent from a range of statistics, which we highlight in an interactive graphic. But another telling one is the “sale-to-list” ratio, or the difference between a home’s final list price and its sales price. When sale-to-list is flat, it’s a draw for buyers and sellers: No discount to finalize the deal, and no extra profit amid competition. If it goes up, sellers have the advantage; if it goes down, buyers are getting a discount. In other words, a rising sale-to-list ratio could be called, as Yale economics professor Robert Shiller said, a bullish indicator. So it’s something of a surprise to see such a bullish sign in cities hit hard by foreclosures.