Suffolk County Foreclosure Rate Up From 2008

From Property Shark – Suffolk County foreclosures up 103% from Q3 2008

There were 454 new foreclosures in Suffolk County in Q3 2009, up 103% from Q3 2008, but down 8% from Q2 2009.

Brookhaven (148) and Islip (126) had the highest number of new foreclosures in Q3 2009. Babylon had the highest rate of foreclosures per household (one in every 596 homes scheduled for auction).

People have been calling the bottom, but I don’t think we’re there yet. I’ll be buying a house anyway.

Uh oh.

The House Next Door

Paired Houses

Photographer Camilo Jose Vergara describes his unique photo essay, Paired Houses, But One Is Abandoned at Slate.

In Camden, N.J., perhaps the poorest American city I regularly visit, I photograph what I call paired houses: two dwellings, side by side, one occupied, the other empty. Those living in the occupied home often have their lives made more difficult by what happens on the other side of a shared wall. If I see a neighbor or meet the resident of one of the occupied houses, I ask how they’re coping. They tell me that people throw trash in the front and back yards of the vacant unit, causing foul smells and attracting rats.

I think this is a powerful metaphor for the real estate crisis as a whole. There are a lot of legitimate complaints about bailouts and assistance for people who bought houses that they shouldn’t have, made unwise choices due to ignorance or greed or desperation. Why should we have to pay for these people’s mistakes.

Leaving aside the arguments to compassion, there’s no way we can let half of our house go into disrepair and not have that come back to affect us. No matter how well we take care of “our side”, eventually the smell of the garbage will make it through the wall.

34 Homes in Babylon Pending Foreclosure

Sign Of The Times - Foreclosure

Tom McGiveron has a new post up on foreclosure statistics in Nassau and Suffolk from RealtyTrac. RealtyTrac doesn’t have the best reputation for accuracy, but even still there’s bad new all around Suffolk county.

The big shock, 34 homes in foreclosure right here in Babylon. That may not seem like a lot. Looking at the numbers, there are 176 homes in foreclosure in Tom’s backyard of Deer Park.

But Babylon isn’t Deer Park. Not only is it smaller, it’s a much more upscale and exclusive community. There are no real bad or undesirable parts of Babylon. I’d guess that there’s not a lot of sub-prime lending here. The next time a Realtor tells you that Babylon is “holding it’s value”, tell them about the 34 foreclosures.

As for me, I’m waiting for the REOs that should be showing up in the spring. Until then, I’ll be hiding under my desk.

Photo by Flickr user Respres used under a Creative Commons license

Home Prices Drop In October

I’m trying to limit the number of doom and gloom posts here on HIB, but it’s hard to ignore this one.

From Bloomberg: Home Sales Fall, Record Drop in Prices

Home resales in the U.S. dropped in October and prices fell by the most on record, signaling a deepening housing recession going into 2009.

Purchases of existing homes slid to an annual rate of 4.98 million, lower than forecast, a National Association of Realtors report showed in Washington. The median price fell 11.3 percent from a year earlier, the most since the group began collecting data in 1968.


“The large number of homes already on the market and the number of those that will appear via foreclosure over the next several months only add to the diminished prospects for existing home sales,” Maxwell Clarke, chief U.S. economist at IDEAglobal in New York, said before the report.

From the NY Times: Home Prices Plunge In October

Sales of previously owned homes fell 3.1 percent for the month, to an annual rate of 4.98 million, according to the National Association of Realtors, a private trade group. Of the homes that did find buyers in October, nearly half were the result of a sale after a foreclosure.

Read that again. Of all the sales of pre-existing home is October, almost half of them were due to a foreclosure.

Back In The Saddle Again

Hello HIB readers. Wow, a whole two weeks without an update. Did you guys miss me?

For those of you who are interested, little Aurora Jane is officially the light of my life. Mom and baby are doing well as we all adjust to our new circumstances. I’m back to blogging, so let’s get caught up.

After all my complaining about the MLSLI Sold Properties tool not working, I was able to get it to work on my wife’s laptop, a fairly generic Dell running Windows XP.  Just for the record, I’ve attempted to get that page to work on at least a half dozen different machines, running Windows XP and 2000, using Firefox, Internet Explorer and the new Google Chrome browser with no joy. I even attempted to run it on one of my HPUX workstations at the lab with no success.

I suspect a subtle bug in the JavaScript, but the guys at MLSLI obviously wouldn’t know a subtle bug in their JavaScript if it painted itself purple and jumped about on a harpsichord screaming, “I’m a subtle bug in your JavaScript!”

That’s a Blackadder reference, for those of you playing along at home.

Anyway, I was able to extract data on sold homes in September and will soon be writing a brilliant post on that very subject. Watch for it here.

Here are some quick hits from my saved links over the last couple weeks.

  • Apparently there will be group art show at the Conklin House this Friday, October 17th.  Artist Sara Furey notes that she’ll be there. She links to the Conklin House Blog. I’m interested in the idea of a Conklin House Blog, but the current iteration is less that useful since it only has one post.
  • Over 5000 people showed up at a recent foreclosure showcase in Uniondale looking for bargains in the teeth of the real estate blowup. The big attraction was an auction of 35 foreclosed homes.

    A warning to bargain hunters, these types of auctions can end up being no bargain at all for the buyer. You are often buying these properties sight unseen and may even be responsible for evicting the current occupants before you can take possession or settling outstanding liens. In this market, it’s generally better to buy a REO (bank-owned home) directly from the lending institution. You can inspect the home and be assured of getting clear title.

  • Realtor Tom McGiveron advises people to Sell Now Or Hold On…For A Long Time. It’s rare to find a working Realtor who understands and accepts what the Case-Schiller housing index says about current real estate market.

    The short version is that historically, housing prices go up about 5% to 6% per year. In the boom years, 2000-2005, housing went up at about three times that rate. Since there was no fundamental reason for house prices to go up that much, except for a lot of bad loans chasing the market, house prices won’t go back up until those unearned gains are eaten up by price drops or  time and inflation.

    Read the whole thing. Tom makes it nice with multicolored charts, graphs and other visual aids. And while you’re there, check his October foreclosure report.

Doom and Gloom

After a bit of a hiatus on the real estate front, we’re back to our core…um…competency. Fannie and Freddie are bankrupt. Foreclosures on the rise. Dogs and cats…living together. Mass hysteria!

I got this graph from Matt Ygelesias.

Home loan troubles break records again

The Mortgage Bankers Association said Friday that more than 4 million American homeowners with a mortgage — a record 9 percent — were either behind on their payments or in foreclosure at the end of June.

But how are things here on Long Island? Newsday says, not so good.

Long Island’s real estate market generated $6 billion less in sales in 2007 than it did just two years before, costing the region millions in tax revenue, consumer spending and incomes, along with thousands of jobs, a Newsday analysis has found.

A few more than 26,000 homes were sold on Long Island in 2007, compared to more than 40,000 in 2005. Median prices, too, have fallen. As a result, 2007 sales generated $16.4 billion, compared to $22.4 billion in 2005 – a 27 percent decline, Newsday found.

Median prices can be be a bit deceiving. Changes in median price of sold homes, especially if you look at a small area (like Babylon) with relatively few sales, can reflect a change in the mix of homes sold more than prices moving in one direction or another. But there’s no arguing with sales volume. We’re riding that roller coaster down, people. Hold on to your hats.

Also, a bit from the same article about “priced to sell”.

Debbie Ballantine is hoping that’s the case for her center hall colonial in East Hills. In the spring, she priced the four-bedroom home at $999,999 and hoped for a deal that would close by this month. She and her husband, Toby, can’t buy in Florida until they sell here.

When they first listed the house, their real estate agent, Michelle Cohen of Century 21 Laffey, said it was “priced to sell.” But it didn’t. Recently, the Ballantines lowered the price to $899,000. An open house produced a lot of interest – but so far, no buyers.

Everyone thinks their house is “priced to sell”. I see this on MLS a lot. What’s the alternative, “priced to sit on MLS forever”? If your house isn’t selling, then it isn’t priced to sell.

Of course, not everyone is on about the doom and gloom. Some realtors still think it’s a great time to buy.

After this weekend of the federal Government taking over the two big mortgage giants we are seeing an interest rate drop of three eight of a point and it will continue to go lower

that is great news for all of us, specially for the new york real estate region, because that is where I’m working!!!!!!!

There’s nothing better for convincing a potential client than using a lot of exclamation points.