Current market conditions propagate a cycle of pessimism that is hard to break, especially when major media outlets follow negative stories with a magnetic zeal, and leave the good news buried deep in the nooks and crannies of the paper. During these tough times it is the job of optimists and those who seek out positive information to support their often criticized position to report the news that lends evidence to the possibility that things are improving.
Five years ago, a story like the one reported by Finance & Commerce today regarding the RealtyTrac report on the decline of foreclosures, would not have seemed like much of a story. However, these are different times, and the fact that a national decline in foreclosures has occurred is something to be optimistic about. Minnesota saw a 29.6% decline in February, compared to a year ago, which is slightly better than the national average at 27.3%. UST’s own Herb Tousley was interviewed for his perspective on the matter,
“I think we are seeing foreclosures starting to work their way through the market,” said Tousley, director of the Twin Cities-based Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas. “I don’t think this (drop in foreclosure filings) is an artificial lull based on procedural issues. I think the economy is looking up and employment is getting a little better.”
Furthermore, compared to other types of sales, foreclosures were the only home type category to grow from February of 2010. Positive growth in foreclosure sales, combined with a reduction of new foreclosure listings is an indicator of a market that is recovering, as well as benefiting neighborhoods that were in danger of degenerating into ghost towns. Anyway you parse it, the reduction in foreclosed homes is good news for the state, the market, the economy, and the community. Win-win stories are hard to come by these days, and although this certainly doesn’t indicate that the housing market is healthy, or that homeowners can stop worrying about their dramatic loss of equity in their homes, it is certainly a move in the right direction. Thankfully, it seems like that is where we are headed, albeit slowly, towards a time when even the most pessimistic journalists will have to write something positive.
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