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Editorial: Foreclosures in Idaho 12/20/07

Donald L. Plunkett, Jr. Donald L. Plunkett, Jr.

Ada County Association of REALTORS® News Bulletin by Miguel Legarreta
(The following writeup was emailed to real estate brokers in the Boise area from ACAR on 12/20/07)

There has been a great deal of talk about foreclosures both around the county and certainly here in Idaho as well.  Foreclosure rates in Idaho vary from different sources, but like the rest of the nation, foreclosures have gone up. Here are a few items to point out when you are asked about foreclosures in our market.

  • Even with the higher level of foreclosures, they still represent a very small segment of the marketplace – less than 1% in Ada County.  Web sites tracking foreclosures, such as www.realtytrac.com, make the rates look high and often one home is counted several times during the process inflating the numbers.
  • Boise was one of the top 5 investor markets in the county during the boom.It would be reasonable to assume many of the foreclosures in our area are not traditional families, but rather out-of-area investors who simply over extended and never resided in the properties.This is part of a cleansing process and a healthy market is one in which traditional homebuyers buy a home to live and raise a family, not speculation where homes remain vacant.
  • NAR has stepped up to the plate, too, with a widely applauded proposal to modify FHA rules to allow borrowers delinquent on their mortgage to refinance into safe and affordable FHA-backed financing.After a full year of a lot of hard work, discussion and education on the issue, FHA reform stands ready to become a reality.On December 14 the Senate passed S. 2338, their version of FHA reform by a vote of 93-1.A final piece of legislation will be sent to the President for his signature.
  • President Bush has also announced a package of measures to help homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages amid the current sub-prime loan crisis. They include reform tax laws to help troubled borrowers refinance their loans. As a number of these adjustable rate mortgages re-adjust there will be tools in place to help legitimate homeowners with the change and the numbers are not as dire as often reported.While we all recognize the market is adjusting it is a healthy change and cleansing process which will lay the foundation for a healthy, strong market going forward.Miguel Legaretta is ACAR’s Director of Public Policy.

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