In a decidedly bleek report on the state of foreclosures, Amherst Securities Group LP issued a report that concluded:
The single largest impediment to a recovery in the housing market is the large number of loans that are either in delinquent status or in foreclosure that are destined to liquidate. This creates a huge shadow inventory. We estimate this housing overhang at 7 million units, 135% of a full year of existing home sales. We look at the impact on a number of local markets, then look to the causes of the overhang: (1) transition rates are high, (2) cure rates are low and (3) loans are taking longer to liquidate. We are concerned that, in light of this housing overhang, the stabilization we have seen in home prices the last few months is temporary.
The key issue is the fact that the number of housing units going into foreclosure is much higher than the amount being disposed. Of course all real estate is local and the report creates a compelling case study using listing data from Trulia.com and the Case-Shiller 20 City Index coordinated with the foreclosure process.
Amherst was the key source for the informative “Mortgage Meltdown” story back in December on 60 Minutes. They teamed up with investment fund manager Whitney Tilson. The 60 Minutes segment is in my earlier post but I also inserted it below.