Doomsday For the American Economy Because of Greedy Banks?

Well, I have a 50% chance of being right and a 50% chance of being wrong on the foreclosure front but I believe we have a longer way to go down in the real estate arena before we start our recovery-15 to 25% more. There are those in the national association for realtors who want you to believe the trouble is over so that you'll get back to the business of buying and then there's the media announcing a bottom to this current market but what is really happening? Let's take a closer look at some of the key indicators: foreclosure filings and unemployment levels. 

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There seems to be a reduction in the number of foreclosures hitting the market and that is a true statistic however the reason isn't because of what you would expect, fewer foreclosures. It's not that there aren't foreclosures, with a foreclosure filing occurring every 13 seconds in America, it's simply that banks are not releasing their inventory of foreclosed homes. That's why I say, how can we possibly be at the bottom when we don't really know how hard hit we currently are?

What's another driver of foreclosure? Unemployment. The current employment statistics don't offer much hope either. Because of the economic collapse, many families who were able to make their payments are no longer able to meet their obligations because their hours have been cut or one money earner in the household has lost his/her job. They have become a fatality of this economy as well and this snowball effect will continue taking down many unfortunate families we hadn't even calculated in our sub-prime and arm-reset foreclosure forecasts. Furthermore, there doesn't seem to be any easing of the unemployment rate.

To see a chart of the current unemployment statistics Google The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overall banks are dancing around all issues of foreclosure and loan modification, waiting for government bailouts to line their empty coffers. They aren't doing loan modifications in the numbers they should because  they think that if they wait they will have a better chance at getting some government assistance for their debt woes than what they are currently being offered. 

Similarly, they aren't releasing their REO (real estate owned) inventory, a term used to describe real estate that has already been foreclosed on by the bank and is now sitting in the bank's balance sheet as a real-estate-owned liability, in many parts of the country, especially those considered to be in prime areas, markets like California, Nevada and Arizona, because they are waiting for a market recovery in order to recoup some of their losses. Look around your neighborhood as you are driving around. How many homes do you see that are vacant without a for sale sign out front? What will happen when these vacant homes hit the market do you think? I believe they will further fuel the downward spiral.

Is there any hope? I believe there is: if banks would go about their business, engage in loan modifications and release their REO inventory for sale instead of waiting for a better deal, then the American economy can go about its business of recovery in a natural order,  however there are some other limiting factors that must be addressed in another article. For example, should the government restrict real estate investors to a maximum of 10 properties or will these vary same "perpetrators" be the saviors of this economy......

I appreciate any comments or discussion on this highly controversial topic.

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