Welcome to San Diego Blog | November 23, 2011
Defining Shadow Inventory
Many lenders have been intentionally slow to put their inventory up for sale for fear of flooding the market and further driving down prices. Since continued falling prices lower their ROI, it seemed a sensible approach.
This holdback of homes and condos were identified as “Shadow Inventory.” Realtors, buyers and sellers have been hearing this term for years now–and I suppose that it implies “shady” activity.
It is hard to determine if banks have manipulated markets through this strategy or merely protected an insecure real estate market. But there is little doubt that such a strategy has been employed in the 3 years since the “housing bubble burst.”
Where is the Shadow Inventory now?
There seems to be an expectation among clients that Shadow Inventory is an event or opportunity that continues to transpire and will be available for them to exploit in the future. Recent inventory and sales in Downtown San Diego show no sign of this however. See Market Absorption rates for the Q3 2011.
An analysis of recent year’s sales of Foreclosures and Short Sales in Downtown San Diego show a sharp decline in sales from these sources:
Source: Sold Condos in MLS Sandicor, sales restirctions for REOs and Short Sales
The key indicator of upcoming foreclosure and short sale activity is the issuance of “Notices of Default.” Lenders must notify delinquent borrowers of future foreclosure activity by sending an “NOD.” Notice of Default is public record and is tracked in every geographic location.
Default Research Inc. reports that San Diego County Notices of Defaults have declined 52% in the past 12 months. The Downtown San Diego numbers show a decline of over 60% in NODs. A visit to the Courthouse Steps for home auctions at “trustee sale” show fewer sales and a decreased number of buyers.
The economy has created a horrendous struggle over the past three years as homeowners have fought to hang on–or have lost their homes. Statistics indicate that most of this is behind us.
There is talk among economists of a possible “second bubble.” Short of this occuring, we’re simply not seeing “Shadow Inventory.”
Fewer Short Sales and Foreclosures
The conclusion of this blog should say, “with fewer short sales and foreclosures in the market, we have recently seen a notable increase in prices.” Or at least something to that effect.
This surprisingly has not been the case. There are fewer pricing anomolies in the market now. Inventory in general is tighter, and the “smoking deals” are few and far between. Nonetheless, condos of excellent value remain at similar prices and cost per square foot as they did in early 2011.
Homes under $500,000 are rare and selling quickly. Particularly under $300,000, where there continue to be a limited number of short sales and foreclosures, we’re seeing multiple offers and a “sellers market.” At the higher price levels the activity level and sales are at a much lower pace.
Call or e-mail to have a conversation about San Diego Real Estate. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858.432.3203.