Hawaii foreclosures leveling off
November filings were down from October but up from a year ago
While Hawaii's foreclosure rate continues to run ahead of last year, according to new data for November released today, foreclosure activity appears to be leveling off and local market conditions are better than the national average.
Nationwide, November foreclosures remained ahead of last year's pace as more consumers defaulted on loans and lenders tightened their underwriting standards, according a report by the national research firm RealtyTrac. However, monthly foreclosure numbers dropped 10 percent nationwide, the first double-digit monthly decrease seen since April, said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.
"This could indicate that foreclosure activity has topped out for the year, but the true test of whether this ceiling will hold will come at the beginning of next year -- when we anticipate that a seasonal surge in foreclosure filings and another possible wave of resetting mortgages could place further pressure on the housing market," Saccacio said. "But if the trend of flat or decreasing foreclosure activity we've seen over the past three months continues in the first quarter, it would certainly bode well for 2008."
Hawaii had 113 foreclosure filings in November, RealtyTrac data indicates, or one foreclosure filing per every 4,346 households. The report showed a national rate of one foreclosure filing for every 617 U.S. households.
While Hawaii's annual foreclosure rate has continued to run ahead of last year along with the nation as a whole, foreclosures still have a limited footprint throughout the islands. And foreclosure rates here seem to be improving as activity has begun to level off.
Experts have said that 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.
Hawaii ranked 44th out of the 50 states surveyed, down from 43rd in October. The state's foreclosure rate dropped 13.74 percent from October but rose 52.7 percent from the same month in 2006. Nationally, foreclosures were down 10 percent from the previous month and up 67.82 percent year-over-year, according to RealtyTrac.
"The areas where we are seeing less foreclosure activity and lower foreclosure rates are places where the supply of real estate has not outstripped the demand, said Daren Blomquist, marketing communications manager for RealtyTrac. "In some of the areas where we are seeing spiking foreclosure rates, a huge glut of homes has been built," Blomquist said.
Nevada, Florida and Ohio posted the top foreclosure rates. California, Florida and Ohio reported the highest foreclosure totals.
"In somewhere like Hawaii, there might be a lot of building going on in certain areas but demand is able to support it," Blomquist said. "You are not seeing people ending up with properties that they can't sell. And that makes a difference if they get into trouble."