With gains in housing prices the past year also comes an increase in home equity – very good news for current homeowners. But while those shopping for good deals (especially first-time home buyers and move-up buyers) are getting incredibly low interest rates, foreclosures and other REO inventory is shrinking drastically.
According to CoreLogic, foreclosure inventory is down 20% in November from a year ago. REOs fell from 19.6% to 11.5% between January and November 2012. This drop is due to a lower number of delinquencies and a more laborious foreclosure process that resulted from the original housing crisis issues.
Along with fewer foreclosures and REOs comes major competition to purchase deals by investors, first-time homebuyers, and the move-up buyers, hence the rise in prices. Economists are predicting that 2013 will see further declines in both REO and foreclosure inventory, but won’t be as steep a decline as we saw in 2012.