The end of the robo-signing scandal, in which several mortgage servicers admit they rushed foreclosure documentation, may be marked by strong December property sales, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance
The last time sales of distressed properties hit similar highs was in September, just before robo-signing allegations came to light.
First-time homebuyer activity remained relatively strong last month, though still near historic lows, as purchasers rushed to close transactions before interest rates rise further, according to housing industry consultancy group Campbell Surveys
In December, the firm's HousingPulse distressed property index shows these transactions make up 47.2% of the market, up from 44.5% in November and nearly matching the 47.5% peak reached in September. The index dipped in October as large mortgage servicers suspended foreclosures to investigate the robo-signing debacle.
Distressed property sales now makeup a large portion of several state's housing market. Almost two-thirds of all Californian residential property transactions tracked in December involved distressed properties. In Arizona and Nevada, 62% of transactions concerned distressed properties.
Only 29% of property transactions in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana were distressed, by way of comparison.
Sales to first-time homebuyers continued at the high level of 37.7% of all transactions tracked in December, a strong increase from the 34.4% in September and October. However, investors are decreasing purchase activity in expectation of further house price declines.
The Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance housingpulse tracking survey involves more than 3,000 real estate agents nationwide each month and provides up-to-date intelligence on home sales and mortgage usage patterns.
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