While some people may be interested in obtaining foreclosures through “adverse possession,” lenders are pursuing other options to rid themselves of a glut of foreclosures:
The biggest U.S. mortgage servicer [Bank of America] will donate 100 foreclosed houses in the Cleveland area and in some cases contribute to their demolition in partnership with a local agency that manages blighted property. The bank has similar plans in Detroit and Chicago, with more cities to come, and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Citigroup Inc. (C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Fannie Mae are conducting or considering their own programs.
Disposing of repossessed homes is one of the biggest headaches for lenders in the U.S., where 1,679,125 houses, or one in every 77, were in some stage of foreclosure as of June, according to research firm RealtyTrac Inc. of Irvine, California. The prospect of those properties flooding the market has depressed prices and driven off buyers concerned that housing values will keep dropping…
Bank of America had 40,000 foreclosures in the first quarter, saddling the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender with taxes and maintenance costs. The bank announced the Cleveland program last month, has committed as many as 100 properties in Detroit and 150 in Chicago, and may add as many as nine cities by the end of the year, said Rick Simon, a company spokesman.
The lender will pay as much as $7,500 for demolition or $3,500 in areas eligible to receive funds through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Uses for the land include development, open space and urban farming, according to the statement. Simon declined to say how many foreclosed properties Bank of America holds.
This article describes small efforts by these lenders. If there are indeed over 1.6 million homes in some stage of foreclosure and more likely to come, lenders would need to bulldoze or donate a lot more homes to really clear up the supply and help stabilize home prices.
I wonder if the lenders are pursuing these goals with these small moves:
1. Building goodwill within the community.
2. Getting rid of the worst of the worst properties and just cutting their losses.
Neither of these options are bad but it remains to be seen what lenders will do with the majority of foreclosed properties. I think we’re a ways from Warren Buffett’s suggestion that we simply “blow up a lot of houses.”