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Distressed Sales Update: May 2016

Distressed Sales Accounted for 8 Percent of Homes Sold Nationally in May 2016

Molly Boesel    |    Housing Trends

  • Of total sales in May 2016, distressed sales accounted for 8.4 percent and real estate-owned (REO) sales accounted for 5.4 percent
  • The REO sales share was 22.5 percentage points below its peak of 27.9 percent in January 2009
  • Distressed sales shares fell in most states, including the oil markets

Distressed sales, which include REO and short sales, accounted for 8.4 percent of total home sales nationally in May 2016, down 2.1percentage points from May 2015 and down 1 percentage point from April 2016.

Within the distressed category, REO sales accounted for 5.4 percent and short sales accounted for 3 percent of total home sales in May 2016. The REO sales share was 1.7 percentage points below the May 2015 share and is the lowest for the month of May since 2007. The short sales share fell below 4 percent in mid-2014 and has remained in the 3-4 percent range since then. At its peak in January 2009, distressed sales totaled 32.4 percent of all sales with REO sales representing 27.9 percent of that share. While distressed sales play an important role in clearing the housing market of foreclosed properties, they sell at a discount to non-distressed sales, and when the share of distressed sales is high, it can pull down the prices of non-distressed sales. There will always be some level of distress in the housing market, and by comparison, the pre-crisis share of distressed sales was traditionally about 2 percent. If the current year-over-year decrease in the distressed sales share continues, it will reach that “normal” 2-percent mark in mid-2019.

All but eight states recorded lower distressed sales shares in May 2016 compared with a year earlier. Maryland had the largest share of distressed sales of any state at 19.4 percent[1] in May 2016, followed by Connecticut (18.5 percent), Michigan (17.8 percent), Illinois (16 percent) and Florida (15.8 percent). North Dakota had the smallest distressed sales share at 2.5 percent. Oil states continued to see year-over-year declines in their distressed sales shares in May 2016. Texas saw a 1.3 percentage point decrease, and Oklahoma and North Dakota both saw a 0.1 percentage point decrease. Florida had a 5.5 percentage point drop in its distressed sales share from a year earlier, the largest decline of any state. California had the largest improvement of any state from its peak distressed sales share, falling 60.4 percentage points from its January 2009 peak of 67.5 percent. While some states stand out as having high distressed sales shares, only North Dakota and the District of Columbia are close to their pre-crisis levels (each within one percentage point).

Of the 25 largest Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) based on mortgage loan count, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. had the largest share of distressed sales at 19.2 percent, followed by Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Ill. (18.1 percent), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (17.3 percent), Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. (16.4 percent) and St Louis, Mo. (13.6 percent). Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. had the smallest distressed sales share at 2.4 percent among this same group of the country’s largest CBSAs. Two of the largest 25 CBSAs had year-over-year increases in their distressed sales share: Nassau County-Suffolk County, N.Y. was up by 1.3 percentage points, and New York-Jersey City-White Plains, New York was up by 0.1 percentage points. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. had the largest year-over-year drop in its distressed sales share, declining by 7.9 percentage points from 24.4 percent in May 2015 to 16.4 percent in May 2016. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. had the largest overall improvement in its distressed sales share from its peak value, dropping from 76.5 percent in February 2009 to 9.6 percent in May 2016.



1 The distressed sales share for states and CBSAs was calculated using sales from the past 12 months.

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