Wednesday, March 07, 2007

County Clerks Office, Now "Foreclosures R Us"

Hey, this housing implosion in Florida has created a new job opportunity - processing foreclosures. It's a dirty job, but some one's gotta do it. Maybe Mike Rowe could be called in to do an episode.

From Sarah Prohaska @ the Palm Beach Post.

'FORT PIERCE — For months, a ceaseless routine has gripped the St. Lucie clerk of court's civil office: New mortgage foreclosure lawsuits arrive in unprecedented numbers - huge stacks, some a foot or 2 tall. But as soon as one stack is processed and emptied from the in-box, another dozen or more foreclosures show up the next day.

On really busy mornings, process servers drop off banks' boxes filled with these documents, which set into motion a process that often means homeowners who haven't paid their mortgages will lose their homes.'

Wow - this is the first, honest-to-goodness picture of the true state of housing in our state. Of course, and RealtyTrac have also been talking about it, but this really illuminates. And the comparisons to very recent history (when the REIC was blathering on and on that there was no bubble and the sky-high valuations were supported by "solid fundamentals") are spot on.

'The clerks who process the cases shake their heads when they think back to the days when maybe two or three mortgage foreclosure lawsuits arrived each day. They don't have to stretch their memories much: That was only about a year and a half ago.

But now, it's a different scene inside the clerk's circuit civil division across the street from the St. Lucie County Courthouse. As 2006 unfolded, the number of new St. Lucie mortgage foreclosure filings surged upward, culminating in a yearly total of 1,329 cases. That's a more than a 170 percent increase from 2005's total of 485 cases, according to the clerk's office.

Take this snapshot: On Wednesday, the last day of February, the St. Lucie clerk's office received 30 new foreclosure cases. That single day accounted for more cases than the office received in the entire month of October in 2004, according to the office's records.

The trend is playing out across the nation, but some analysts say markets such as St. Lucie County, which enticed a lot of speculative buyers during the sizzling real estate boom a few years ago, are experiencing the biggest increases in delinquencies and foreclosures.'

Exactly. Along with Arizona and California, the state of Florida is the third member of what I like to call the housing bubble-bust triumvirate. All three states had the greatest appreciation over the past 5 years, and as a result all three created the greatest disparity between median incomes and median prices. It takes no rocket scientist to forecast that the triumvirate are also going to experience the greatest shock as the supply and demand curves snap back together.

Back to St. Lucie. Some causes and effects of the fallout.

'St. Lucie officials offer several reasons why the real estate boom has given way to a foreclosure boom:

• The slowing housing market, where owners are realizing their homes are not worth what they thought they were or the homes were over-appraised;

• Adjustable-rate mortgages, which drew in buyers with initial low interest rates that recently have increased substantially;

• Rising insurance rates and property taxes.

Those are the catalysts, many say, for the record number of lawsuits banks have filed to recover their money - and the fallout in St. Lucie, and many other Florida counties, has landed squarely on the clerk office's doorstep.

"In all the years I've done this, I've never seen this many foreclosures," said Nancy Bennett, supervisor of St. Lucie's circuit civil clerks division, who has worked in the office for more than 20 years. "It has never been like this."'

And seriously, with record #s of empty houses and sales dropping like a rock all over the Sunshine State, does anyone believe this is going to get any better in 2007? In 2008?


Anonymous said...

As an economy hobbyist, I have been quietly speculating the bust for 3 years now. I say quietly because friends and colleagues of mine have heard my warnings and predictions up until mid 2006. This is when I started to clam up because more and more I was being rebutted with either mockery and/or anger. Needless to say they have bought overpriced homes and now face negative equity. I hate to say "I told you so" but the proof is in the pudding.
I have been waiting for this now obvious disaster in real estate for some time now with the intent to capitalize. As I understand it, the majority of people foreclosing have not paid a significant portion of principal that allows the post-foreclosure selling price of the property to return to a real/attractive market valuation. So the banks who acquire these properties via foreclosure are all taking losses but how much? Also, I live in Northern Virginia where townhouses/condos go for $400K~$500K, crazy I know. I see on RealtyTrac that many bank-owned properties are sprouting up all over this area. How do I get in and help these banks out by acquiring there dead weight? I have resisted buying these past 5 years, waiting for the foreclosures market to open up. Now I am salivating as a first-time homebuyer waiting to make my first kill. Am I being naive??

macbeth said...

You're not being naive - but I still believe there are a lot of flippers who didn't completely get wiped out on the current wave. They're going to be the first ones back in during the initial rounds of foreclosure auctions. They will drive the prices back up to unprofitable levels.

And, of course, as prices continue to plumment, this will almost assuredly knock out all but the most serious and professional investors.

Personal example: I have a good friend who has been a developer/investor for 20 years now. His last purchase of an investment property for resale? In 2003.

My advice, wait for a few more rounds of foreclosures before diving in. Don't get involved with the "dead cat" bounce - you'll be amply rewarded.

Anonymous said...

Lots of amateur speculators getting toasted. NO rush let the blood continue to flow and watch the despair.

Congrats on your patience and strength to withstand the moron buyers pumping at the peak.
This has happened to me twice in the last 2 decades.

anointed one said...

Follow me, down into the abyss, being only carefull of dark matter.
Your reward will be delightfully spectacular. Your days in Florida's paradise will be forever.

Holdings one's breath for 3 years, is detrimental to health, and life.
Feast upon the banquet, of local bankers, taking hold of them sub-penus, and performing axial motions.
Anointing their gentials with Hawaiian Tropic is blessed.

Dragasoni said...

I'm doing my best to fight the urge to jump into the market. Prices continue to fall around me, and I can now afford a cookie cutter shack. I'm tempted to jump in, but I know if I wait longer the deal will get sweeter. I've decided to rent at $800 a month for another year or two, and save a boat load of money while the bubble deflates.

I'm comfortable with a payment nearly double my rent, but why should I settle for a smaller house than I would like to have? Call me greedy or evil, but I'm going to sit back for at least 18 more months and laugh while this unfolds, and get a good deal sometime in 2009.

I suggest that all of you think long and hard before diving in just yet; it's still too early and there is still quite a bit of denial out there. Wait until panic and desperation set in before making offers.

And don't be shy about your offers! Offer them 50% less than their asking price, and bargain from there. Don't over-pay for real estate; get yourself a fair and good deal in 2009!


zippo said...

Right you are - go in low, and if they consider it a slap in the face, too bad. Maybe the slap will wake them out of their "laziness coma" (lethargy brought on by the mistaken idea that their house is worth so much more because the REIC has told them so).

Just make sure you pick 10 or more places that you'd feel comfortable living in. Then, rank them in order of your preference, set your offer price, and then make an offer.

A lot of greedy sellers will start crying as you make your bids, but you'll get your house and you'll get your price.

Anonymous said...

F" those greedy sellers. They made their bed now they must lay in it.
some of us bit our lip for last 2-3 years while the hotshot speculators homeowners boasted of their homevalues while waiting for lunacy to stop so we could just buy a house. Now since the market is imploding someone is going to have to pay dearly for my time and patience.

Anonymous said...

bleed them dry.

Anonymous said...

It is easy to say you're going to stay out of the market, but it is whole 'nother deal when your spouse says, "We must OWN!".

Believe me, it took 2 years of explaining to my wife that "something smells in Tampa" (regarding home prices) before the bubble finally started making national news. Then, she believed me. But up to that time, I was regarded as the biggest a-hole husband of 2005-2006.

She's thanking me now - but this bubble has been very tough on our marriage.

- Sleepless in Safety Harbor

D.R. Horton said...

D.R. Horton CEO: '2007 is going to suck'
No. 1 U.S. homebuilder sees further write-offs due to unsold homes, lower value lands; expects '08 to be better.
March 7 2007: 5:08 PM EST
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- D.R. Horton Inc., the largest U.S. homebuilder, expects homebuilders' pricing power to return by January 2008, after the hard-hit industry works its way through inventory of unsold homes, the company's chief executive said Wednesday.

"I don't think '08 is going to be a great year, but it's going to be much better than '07," CEO Don Tomnitz told the Citigroup Industrial Manufacturing Conference.

He also said: "'07 is going to suck."

I'm so excited, I'm getting my unit memeber out already!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sleepless in Safety Harbor

your wife will be thanking you for years to come when she sees the nicer house u can buy at much lower prices.


crazy g said...

Sleepless reply:

I know exactly, precisely what you are referring to....My wife is going thru the same thing...
GOTTA have a house...PERIOD!!!!...
We liquidated $600K of real estate in 2005, and are sitting it out....
She doesn't like it, want it, nor look forward to doing it!!!! PERIOD!!!!!
We looked at a really nice house up in Georgia, for $400K+, and I had to make her a promise to make an offer on it ,by the end of this year, ""IF"", it still available....

Lots of laughs.....houses in that price range are taking 2+ years to sell, up here.....

Drove down the streets, with a multitude of houses for sale and under construction, and was wondering if in fact things are different or just late!!!!!


In Volusia County, Fl., things are near total STOP!!!! With un-finished houses standing for months.
Some are still climbing the wall of doom, thinking things will be better if they can just get to the top!!! LOL!!!

Anonymous said...

crazy where is a good place to buy when the bloodbath in florida hits bottom?

CRAZY G said...

Anonymous reply:

Your are truly going to laugh at me, when I tell you the answer to that question....

In all probablity, the best place to buy will be the one place where prices had gone up the most....
Cuz, in all reality, they will be coming down the most.....

>>>>""WEST PALM BEACH""<<<<

In 10 to 20 years West Palm, will be a glorious city....
It will rival Miami, and most other major cites, hands down....

Spent nearly 25 years there, and truly enjoyed the vibrancy, and no other city....

Miami, and Fort Lauderdale, were within driving distance....

BIG MONEY people came there, with pockets full of money....

West Palm , is going down now, for the next 5 years or more, but, like Crazy always had said....


Anonymous said...

I love my husband! He has been following the housing market for a couple of years while we have waited and waited and waited some more to buy a house. We had our hearts broken over a house that we wanted to buy and were renting in 2005 on a little lake in Osceola County. The house was small, built in the 70s and on one acre. The owners had told us that they would let us know first when they were ready to sell. My husband and I considered the age of the house, location and etc. and figured they would probably ask around $300k and we were comfortable with that. Our jaws dropped when they told us they were going to sell it for $595,000! I cried for a month but we moved on because we knew it was way overpriced. Unfortunately, some fool bought it for $540k thought they could flip it for $900,000. The house has sat empty and we just saw on the clerk of courts website that it is headed for foreclosure. Another example of owners making a fine profit off of someone who saw all their friends buying up properties and thought that they could play the game too. We have seen marriages break up and people losing their homes over the market. It's amazing what greed does. Until the prices come down to what we can afford, I'm fine staying right here in our little rental on this dirt road with my smart little hubby! People - hang in there. Be content with what you have for now. Your patience will pay off.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to wait but the prices
are just coming down. I figure
between 09 and 11 the time will
not be too terrible to buy again.
Untill then... I'm watching the show popcorn in hand.

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Stivel Velasquez said...

the leading online marketplace for foreclosure
properties, today released its September 2007 U.S. Foreclosure Market
Report, which shows a total of 223,538 foreclosure filings -- default
notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- were reported
during the month,sportsbook down 8 percent from the 32-month high in the previous
month, but still up 99 percent from the number reported in September 2006.
The national foreclosure rate for the month was one foreclosure filing for
every 557 households.

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