Short Sales Double Leap

By Ryan Jackson

Bank assisted short sales or mortgage holders who are approved to sell their homes for less than what is owed on a mortgage leaped to short sale property double the number of short sales approved in 2009 last year.

There were 227,570 short sales approved in 2011 accounting for a 12% increase from the previous year, according to the Office of Comptroller of Currency. Some 112,000 were approved in 2009. The leap demonstrates a massive increase in short sales approved by lenders in the years since the financial crisis hit the U.S. in 2008.

Short sales should also experience another major boost in volume in 2012 after 49 state attorney generals came to a $25 billion settlement with the nation’s five largest banks over the robo-signing scandal. As part of the agreement, lenders agreed to make efforts to short sell a home as a last ditch effort to assist troubled mortgage borrowers before foreclosing.

Short sales are projected to top 400,000 homeowners by Housing Predictor analysts in 2012, a downgrade from 500,000 projected for the year. An increase in home foreclosures triggered by a catch up in bank servicing operations to formally repossess homes in expected to drive the hike in formal foreclosures.

More than 1-million U.S. homes are forecast to be foreclosed by bank servicers in 2012 as part of the nation’s on-going foreclosure crisis.

A lack of discount priced foreclosure homes or bank owned REOs offered for sale are driving many real estate agents to show homes offered as short sales in some U.S. housing markets. For the first time, short sales are receiving multiple offers in many areas of the nation.

Real estate brokers and agents are certified to handle short sales as Certified Distressed Property Experts (CDPE), a certification offered by the National Association of Realtors through a training program. Brokers learn options to effectively deal with homeowners facing severe financial hardships, including short sales, foreclosures and working with banks and mortgage companies to resolve troubled mortgages.

Lenders that are currently approving short sales include Bank of America, CitiGroup, Wells Fargo, Suntrust, Ally Financial, JP Morgan Chase and BB&T.