Buying and owning real estate in today's housing market can be a complicated process, with rapidly changing elements, rising mortgage rates and a lack of homes for sale.
However, a number of positive trends have emerged throughout the segment. There are fewer homeowners filing for foreclosure, and more people are interested in residential financing as applications start to increase.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage applications rose 11.9 percent on a weekly basis for the week ending Jan. 10, 2014. More homeowners are looking to refinance as well, as the organization's Refinance Index ticked up 11 percent week-over-week. Adjustable-rate mortgages accounted for 8 percent of total application volume, the same from the week prior.
Foreclosure filings start to drop
According to RealtyTrac's Year-End 2013 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, foreclosures only totaled 1,361,795 properties, a 26 percent decrease from the same time in 2012 and 53 percent below 2010's peak. This recent data is also the lowest it has been since 2007.
However, there were still several states with a high number of foreclosed houses. RealtyTrac explained that 3.01 percent of all housing units had a foreclosure filing in Florida, 2.16 percent in Nevada and 1.89 percent in Illinois. Real estate investors have played a key role in the changes felt across the U.S. Scheduled foreclosure auctions increased 13 percent in 2013 compared to the year prior.
"The push to schedule these auctions is certainly coming at an opportune time for the foreclosing lenders," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "There is unprecedented demand from institutional investors willing to pay with cash to buy at the foreclosure auction, helping to raise the value of properties with a foreclosure filing in 2013 by an average of 10 percent nationwide."
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