The steep decline in the number of REO properties in the last five years or so since the foreclosure crisis peaked has been one of the buzz topics in the mortgage industry. As more jobs are added each month and the unemployment rate has dipped to pre-recession levels, the number of foreclosed homes has seen a corresponding substantial decline.
Just how many fewer REO properties are out there now compared to the total of REO properties at the peak of the crisis? The FHFA’s Foreclosure Prevention Report for Q4 2015 said that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac owned a combined total of 72,783 REO properties as of the end of the fourth quarter—less than a third of their peak total of slightly more than five years earlier—in Q3 2010, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac owned a combined total of approximately 242,000 REO properties. That quarter, property acquisitions outpaced dispositions by the count of 124,000 to 74,000.
The 72,000-plus REO properties owned by the GSES represented a decline of 6 percent from Q3’s total of approximately 77,000. The 6 percent over-the-quarter decline was attributed to property dispositions outpacing acquisitions by the count of 25,531 to 21,100 during the quarter. The 21,100 acquisitions represented a decline of 6 percent, while the 25,531 dispositions represented a decline of 20 percent over-the-quarter for Q4.
According to FHFA, about 14 percent of the GSEs’ REO inventory was located in Florida during the fourth quarter of 2015 (about 10,000 properties). About 19 percent of the inventory was concentrated in four Midwestern states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio).
While the number of REO properties owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in Q4 2015 was approximately one-third of its peak total from five years earlier, the number of completed third-party and foreclosure sales was less than one-fifth of its peak total from Q3 2010. During the fourth quarter of 2015, there were 25,096 foreclosures completed on Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-owned single-family residential properties; in Q3 2010, foreclosure completions reached their peak total of 138,000. Likewise, foreclosure starts also peaked in Q3 2010 at 339,000 but by Q4 2015 had declined to 65,000.
Click here to view the FHFA’s entire Foreclosure Prevention Report for Q4 2015.