Housing markets are expected to stabilize over the next 12 months, with experts predicting that prices will finally level off after more than four years of continuous decline. With home affordability at its highest for many years, some observers are hopeful that we may even see a rise in the number of existing home sales in 2012.
But while all this sounds hopeful, real estate will be unable to mount a true recovery until we deal with the millions of foreclosed homes that have yet to be sold off. The problem with this however, is that we seem to be taking longer than ever to get through the foreclosure process these days, reports CNN Money.
The CNN Money article reported today that the average length of a foreclosure process in the US has more than doubled since the housing crisis gripped the nation in 2007. Back then, the average length of time for a home to be foreclosed was just 253 days, approximately 8 months. Now, the average length of a foreclosure process is almost two years – 674 days, to be absolutely precise.
Foreclosures are one of the main reasons why our housing markets are still depressed after all this time. Neighborhoods across the country are littered with empty, foreclosed properties, and this is dragging down prices in local markets.
Unfortunately, things look like they are going to get worse before they get better. The Wall Street Journal recently revealed that the number of foreclosures rose by 21% over the third quarter, and say that around 1.3 million homes were going through the foreclosure process as of September 2011. The volume of foreclosures is expected to grow steadily over the next year as banks are finally getting through the backlog created by the robo-signing scandal.
We’ve seen dozens of experts making dozens of different predictions as to when we might see a recovery in housing and prices on the way back up, but whatever these so called experts claim, common sense says we’re unlikely to see much improvement in the year ahead.
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