RealtyTrac just released its 2008 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which reported that there were a total of 3,157,806 foreclosure filings (default notices, auction sale notices, and bank repossessions) on 2,330,483 properties during 2008. That was an 81 percent increase over 2007 and a 225 percent increase over 2006. To get a feel for the breadth and scope of just how serious the foreclosure Juggernaut is, take a look at this map to see just how hard hit certain parts of the country were in 2008.
Arizona reported the third highest foreclosure rate of all states in 2008. 4.49 percent of all housing units in Arizona received at least one foreclosure filing during the year. Indeed, 116,911 properties in Arizona received a foreclosure filing, which also put Arizona third for total foreclosure filings. Amazingly, foreclosure activity in Arizona during 2008 increased 203 percent from 2007 and 665 percent from 2006. That last percentage far surpasses the two top foreclosure activity states – California (412 percent increase since 2006) and Florida (412 percent increase since 2006).
Not surprisingly, Pinal and Maricopa County were particularly hard hit. The Phoenix metropolitan area reported 97,684 foreclosure filings in 2008, an increase of 220.77 percent from 2007. That put the Phoenix metropolitan area fifth on the top 100 metropolitan areas, which is fairly consistent with its metropolitan population ranking. The Tucson metropolitan area reported 9,043 foreclosure filings in 2008, an increase of 113.33 percent. The Tucson metropolitan area ranked 37th on the top 100 metropolitan areas, which is again fairly close to the Tucson metropolitan population ranking.
The burn-off of the Arizona housing bubble seems to be gaining momentum faster than the meteoric rise in real estate prices. For example, take a look at the graph of median home prices in Phoenix between 1989 and 2009. Look at the incredible bell curve between about 2005 and 2008. The scary thing that some commentators are noting, is that while the bell curve has basically been erased and median prices are near 2004 levels, the current inventory of homes is far greater than 2004 levels, not to mention, it is much more difficult to qualify now. Looks like we may not hit a bottom for a while yet. The bubbly hangover may be more painful than the euphoria of the upswing, eh?