While homebuyers are pursuing short
sales with less enthusiasm because of the lengthy and unpredictable process,
investors are finding them a new target of opportunity. Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse
Tracking Survey found that investors continued to boost their activity in the housing
market during February and accounted for 24.2 of all housing transactions and
30.6 percent of short sales.
Distressed sales accounted for 48.7
percent of all housing sales in February based on a three-month moving average
represented by the HousingPulse Distressed Property Index (DPI), the second
highest level recorded by the survey and the 25th month in a row
that the DPI has been above 40 percent.
Since September the percentage of investors
buying homes has increased by 3.3 percentage points and the investor share of
short sales by 4.7 points. In contrast, the proportion of homebuyers purchasing
short sales has dropped since September.
Campbell says the waning interest of
first-time homebuyers and current homeowners in short sale transactions is
largely driven by dissatisfaction with the long-approval times of mortgage
servicers and unpredictable closing dates. Investors do not have to deal with
some of the resulting complications such as breaking a rental lease, moving
from another home on short notice or finding themselves stranded between homes
by an unanticipated delay or cancellation of the sale.
Mortgage servicers have been using
“cash-for-keys” payments to motivate delinquent homeowners to engage in short
sales. Cash-for-keys payments are often $3,000 or 1% of home value, but can
reach up to $25,000 and more for high value homes in areas with long
foreclosure timelines, HousingPulse respondents reported.
The Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance
HousingPulse Tracking Survey involves approximately 2,500 real estate agents
nationwide each month and provides up-to-date intelligence on home sales and
mortgage usage patterns.