As my grandfather said, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.* And there’s more than one way to track properties in foreclosure.
Now before I get a bunch of hate mail from the local Realtors and other real estate types, let me say that the residential property market in most of the state is in pretty good shape. In Oklahoma, we haven’t seen the kind of runaway, double-digit increases in home values that some parts of the country have seen in the last five years.
As my colleague, Real Estate Editor Richard Mize, likes to say, “There is no national housing market.” We’re a patchwork of local markets, with some doing better or worse than others. Tracking foreclosures in most markets is no easy feat, especially when much of the data comes from courthouse data that isn’t readily available online in many markets.
As Bialik points out in his column, the main media sources for foreclosure stats are the Mortgage Bankers Association, RealtyTrac and First American CoreLogic. All three have varying methodologies to their data gathering, which gives a slightly different picture to the foreclosure rates in particular communities.
Compounding the difficulty is that foreclosure is at its heart a legal process. So your home can be placed into foreclosure, but you might work something out with your lender before it actually runs the full course of the foreclosure process. Some of the private companies tracking foreclosure activity actually report it at several different points in the process, making the numbers a little murkier.
One thing is clear, though. If your property has made it to this list, it’s probably too late.
*Sorry, PETA fans.
Written by Paul Monies