Foreclosure Analyst predicts housing rally on the way

(SACRAMENTO, CA) — Despite government efforts to stem the foreclosure tide, California-based housing analyst Alexis S. McGee predicts a buying rally is imminent.

“I see a housing rally ahead because consumers simply can’t afford to sit on the sidelines any longer,” adds McGee.

She says her company has been in business 20 years. McGee stands by her prediction even though her own numbers paint a different picture.

Completed foreclosures in February reached the highest monthly total since the foreclosure crisis began, soaring by more than 67 percent over January’s reduced foreclosures, according to the latest U.S. Foreclosure Index released today by
In February, 121,756 new foreclosures were completed, up from 72,694 in January, which had seen a 26 percent drop from December’s 97,841 foreclosures.

The February number topped the previous monthly high of 104,243 new foreclosures seen last September – then the high-water mark for this crisis.

McGee’s U.S. Foreclosure Index also found the number of pre-foreclosure filings – the original filings that can lead to a foreclosure – increasing to the highest monthly total since the foreclosure crisis began, hitting 207,703 in February, up more than 24 percent from 166,860 in January and up 9 percent from 190,467 in December, the previous monthly high.

“Despite the efforts to stem foreclosures by government and many banks, the hopeful signs of the last quarter of 2008 and January didn’t follow through in February,” acknowledges McGee.

“Many homeowners are in trouble and rising unemployment continues to threaten to intensify the problem.”

She says foreclosures increased across all regions despite temporary halts by major banks and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, primarily in the second half of February, in anticipation of the Obama administrations foreclosure mitigation effort.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac previously had foreclosure moratoria from Nov. 26 to Jan. 31, which helped to slow down foreclosures during that period, and reinstated the moratoria in mid-February. Nearly all the bank moratoria have since expired or are about to expire.

“Annualizing the first two months of this year, if foreclosures were to continue unabated, we could end up with another 1.2 million homes back in lenders’ hands by year-end,” McGee notes.

“However, I am hopeful that our new administration’s plan to stem the foreclosure tide will take hold and we will see fewer foreclosures by year end.”

She adds, “The Fed means business, and they’re throwing money–lots of it–behind the foreclosure crisis.”

She points out that  “just last week, the Mortgage Banker’s Association’s National Delinquency Survey reported that the delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties rose to a new record seasonally adjusted rate of 7.88 percent of all loans outstanding as of the end of fourth-quarter 2008.

‘Those numbers don’t include loans somewhere in the foreclosure process (a record 3.3 percent of all loans outstanding). MBA numbers also show that foreclosure inventory jumped sharply in the fourth quarter, while the number of loans entering foreclosure was relatively unchanged due in part to all the foreclosure moratoriums.”

Tables prepared by McGee’s U.S. Foreclosure Index, showing regional activity, are below:

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