Explaining Southern California's economy

California 'shadow inventory' of real estate drops through October


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For sale signs are posted on a foreclosed house in Glendale, California. According to CoreLogic, fewer homes in the state are headed for bank ownership.

There are more signs that the housing market is improving. Real estate analytics firm CoreLogic has just released new data on the so-called “shadow inventory” of homes. Those are properties that have delinquent mortgages, are headed into the foreclosure process, or have been foreclosed and belong to the bank, but haven't yet shown up in real estate listings.

"Don’t be afraid of the shadows," is CoreLogic's message. Why? Because nationally the shadow inventory has declined more than 12 percent since last year. During the three months that ended in October, California saw the second largest drop in the type of mortgage delinquencies that typically lead to foreclosure — almost 10 percent, behind Arizona at just over 13 percent.

California has a housing shortage at the moment. That means there’s demand for these properties. So any home that's on the verge of emerging from the shadows will rapidly find a buyer. In a statement, CoreLogic chief economist Mark Fleming addressed the national shadow inventory situation:


More modest home price increases for Los Angeles


A Foreclosure sign is seen in front of a bank-owned home for sale in Las Vegas. We may start to see fewer of these if the U.S. housing market truly hits bottom.

Real estate and business information service CoreLogic has released June housing data, and for Los Angeles, the story is much the same as what we learned from the most recent Case-Shiller index. Year-over-year, national home prices were up 2.5; they increased 1.3 percent from May.

In what CoreLogic calls "Core Based Statistical Areas," the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale region, prices were up very slightly year-over-year in June: 0.8 percent. Factoring in distressed sales, of which there's no shortage in the area, prices are up rather more, 3.5 percent.

The most recent Case-Shiller data is for May (Case-Shiller lags most other indices), but it also shows modest price upticks for Los Angeles, one of the 20 cities the index tracks. 

Overall this a is good news, although it's also important to note the CoreLogic reports that California had one of the nation's steepest price declines during the housing collapse: almost 40 percent.