The amount of REO inventory held by lenders is expected to peak in August 2011 at 545,000 properties, according to analysts at Barclays Capital. In April, REO remained relatively flat, increasing 0.8% from March to 526,000. The influx was primarily due to an increase in REO from the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), according to BarCap. Analysts also reported that properties are taking roughly 23 months to move from foreclosure to REO. Servicers are showing signs of caution, not wanting to shock the fragile housing recovery with too much inventory, according to analysts. And foreclosure moratoriums are the first line of defense. Moratoriums announced by the major banks and GSEs are the latest example. Servicers are also easing on the rate of foreclosure. The inventory of foreclosed homes, not yet in REO, fell to 1.95m in April, a 2.6% decline from 2m. It’s the first drop since 2005. Analysts said the tide in default servicing has shifted. For the past year, fewer loans moved from current status into delinquency as programs like the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) kept foreclosure numbers from climbing. Now, however, homes are moving from foreclosure into REO at a faster rate as delinquencies have peaked. Because of this, analysts said the foreclosure stock is likely to decline in the months ahead. Write to Jon Prior.
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