23 May 2011

"Distressed Property Index" x 5 years

The "housing crisis" has really fallen out of the headlines in America's short-attention-span news cycle, replaced by Bin Laden, flooding, sports, the Arab Spring, presidential candidates, and everything else.

But it hasn't gone away.  The graph above shows the number of distressed properties in Dane County, Wisconsin.  It's worth noting that Dane County (Madison and suburbs) has NOT been one of the premier crisis points, like Las Vegas, Florida cities, California suburbs, etc.  Madison is a comfortable, university-based mid-sized metropolis with a diverse economic base.

But look at the "distressed property" trend for the past 5 years.  Distressed properties are those (mostly homes, I think) that are in foreclosure or are being sold by the owner of the mortgage (bank, credit union), typically at prices well below "market value."

At the left side of the graph (January 2006), fewer than 5% of homes were "distressed" - now it's over 30%, and has been for five months.  Imagine a third of homes in a metropolitan area being sold by desperate mortgage owners.  Now imagine trying to sell your own home in such an environment.

Reportedly, fewer and fewer additional homes are being added to this mess, but obviously it's going to be many years before supply and demand come back into balance and prices return to even 2006 levels.

Additional information at the Wisconsin State Journal.

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