RealtyTrac recently released their Q1 2013 U.S. Foreclosure & Short Sales Report™. One of the more interesting revelations in the report was the decrease in the number of short sales being completed. According to the report, properties not in foreclosure that sold as short sales in the first quarter accounted for an estimated 15% of all residential sales. This is down 10% from the last quarter (4th quarter of 2012) and down 35% from the first quarter of 2012.
With home values falling dramatically from 2006 boom prices, many homeowners have found themselves in what is called a ‘negative equity’ or ‘underwater’ situation. This means the value of their home is currently less than the mortgage amount on that home.
Many of these homeowners have been ‘locked’ into their houses because they were unable to sell it without bringing cash to the closing table. The good news is this situation is improving as prices begin to rise.
Many analysts differ on what impact shadow inventory will have on house values in 2013. Some warn that these distressed properties will still play a major role in limiting appreciation. Others believe that the increases in buyer demand will more than offset the increase in supply. The only thing on which everyone agrees is that there will be millions of distressed properties that will need to be liquidated over the next few years.
The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 is set to expire at the end of the year. The act allows taxpayers to be excluded from paying taxes on forgiven debt in certain situations. As their website explains:
“The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualifies for the relief.”
The act also applies to debt forgiven in a short sale. The big question is whether or not Congress will extend it past the December 31st deadline. Forty-one state attorneys general signed a letter urging Congressional leaders to extend the act. In the letter, it is explained: