The number of distressed properties not currently listed for sale on multiple listing services (MLSs) stood at 1.6 million as of October 2011, according to CoreLogic. This shadow inventory is approximately half of the industry’s visible inventory of homes available for sale, CoreLogic says. Thus, for every two homes available for sale, there is one home in the “shadows.”
The latest shadow inventory assessment represents a supply of five months and is down from October 2010, when shadow inventory stood at 1.9 million units, or 7-months’ supply. CoreLogic estimates the current stock of properties in the shadow inventory, also known as pending supply, by calculating the number of distressed properties not currently listed on MLSs that are seriously delinquent (90 days or more), in foreclosure, and real estate owned (REO) by lenders.
Of the 1.6 million properties currently in the shadow inventory, 770,000 units are seriously delinquent, 430,000 are in foreclosure, and 370,000 are REO, according to the report. Despite 3 million distressed sales since January 2009, a period when home prices were declining at their fastest rate, the shadow inventory in October 2011 is at the same level as January 2009 telling us that we’re not out of the woods yet. We may not be at the “real” bottom until late 2012 to mid 2013.
Growth in the shadow supply, though, has been reined in by the fact that the flow of new seriously delinquent loans into the shadow inventory has been offset by a roughly equal flow of distressed REO and short sale transactions, the company explained. Still, the shadow inventory is approximately four times higher than its low point (380,000 properties) at the peak of the housing bubble in mid-2006, CoreLogic says.
The company contends that a healthy housing market should have less than one-month’s supply of shadow inventory, which would be an easily absorbed stock of distressed assets with little or no discernable impact on house prices, unless the inventory was geographically concentrated.
Currently, Florida, California, and Illinois account for more than a third of the shadow inventory, CoreLogic reports. The top six states, which would also include New York, Texas, and New Jersey, are home to half of the shadow inventory.