Hawaii ranks low in foreclosures
A nationwide survey shows Hawaii's rate is growing but still lags
Despite a continued run-up in home prices and declining sales volumes, Hawaii ranked near the bottom for foreclosures in a recent national survey.
Foreclosures could grow by a third in 2007 as more consumers default on loans and lenders tighten their underwriting standards, according to the latest projections released yesterday by RealtyTrac, the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties.
But while Hawaii's foreclosure rate has continued growing along with the nation as a whole, foreclosures still have a limited footprint throughout the islands.
Continued price appreciation and strong demand for Hawaii real estate appear to have insulated the Aloha state from developing the foreclosure driving market conditions that many mainland markets are experiencing, said Rick Sharga, marketing director for RealtyTrac.
"Typically when market conditions start to drive foreclosure rates, we'll see a flattening or a depreciation in home prices which doesn't seem to be happening there," Sharga said. "If sales are still strong, that tends to keep properties out of foreclosure."
The forecast for Hawaii's real estate market in 2007 is single-digit price appreciation for both single family homes and condominiums, with a continued decline in sales volume in 2007, said Scott Higashi, executive vice president of sales for Prudential Locations.
"The most obvious comparisons for Hawaii would be California and Florida, but even there market conditions are very different," Sharga said. "There aren't a lot of places where real estate is growing or appreciating."
Hawaii reported 59 foreclosure filings in February, a rate of one foreclosure per every 7,806 households, according to RealtyTrac.
The state's foreclosure activity, which ranked 43rd in RealtyTrac's rankings, decreased nearly 40 percent from the previous month but was up 7.27 percent from February 2006.
"Month-to-month variations need to be taken with a grain of salt," Sharga said. "However, if Hawaii's local economy stays strong and unemployment and interest rates remain low, you should stay below average."
Nationally, foreclosures are up 12 percent year-over-year, according to RealtyTrac.
"Based on our numbers for the first two months of 2007, foreclosure activity is running at a rate that would project to a 33 percent increase over 2006," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.
The report showed a national foreclosure rate of one foreclosure filing for every 884 U.S. households during the month.
Nevada, California and Florida posted the top foreclosure rates in the nation along with Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio, Texas, Arizona and Indiana.