Here is another new report that helps quantify how many properties are being held "bank-owned" following foreclosure. Among the findings:
"Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac boosted loan modifications by 76 percent in the last three months of 2008, but nearly doubled their inventories of real estate-owned properties over the course of the year as the companies eschewed short sales and seized properties faster than they could sell them."
- The companies were saddled with real estate-owned (REO) inventory of 92,884 homes at year end, 2008 -- nearly twice the 48,123 properties on hand at the end of 2007.
- During the last three months of 2008, loan modifications were approved for 23,777 loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie, a 76 percent increase from the previous three months.
- But over the course of the year, the mortgage giants repossessed about eight homes for every short sale they conducted.
- Fannie and Freddie's loan servicers agreed to 16,718 short sales in 2008, while the companies repossessed 145,183 homes, their annual reports showed.
- Although Fannie Mae was able to sell 64,843 repossessed homes in 2008, it acquired 94,652 through foreclosure, leaving it with REO inventory of 63,538 homes at year end -- an increase of 152 percent from the end of 2006.
- Freddie Mac sold 35,579 homes in 2008, but repossessed 50,531. The company's REO inventory ballooned from 14,394 homes at the beginning of the year to 29,346 homes by year end -- a 334 percent increase from the end of 2006.
Buyer should definitely continue to shop NOW for already attractive real estate values. I am seeing some pretty sweet (buyer) deals in the contracts I have been reviewing of late. But, to be sure, if you don't see something you like right now, all those REO properties out there are going to give you a whole lot more options....