A trend that’s good for us to avoid
Statistics from the national real estate market — specifically foreclosure proceedings on homes — offer direct evidence that Mississippi has avoided much of the turbulence in that sector of the economy.
RealtyTrac, a company that follows foreclosures across the country, reported last week that Mississippi continues to rank extremely low in the rate of such repossessions.
This is one time when being ranked low is a good deal, since these particular statistics are tracking a negative, economically damaging trend.
A review of foreclosure information from the past few years confirms that much of the speculative housing fever that has caused such pain across the country bypassed Mississippi.
RealtyTrac said lenders repossessed 727 Mississippi homes in the third quarter of the year, while another 705 property owners received notice of a pending foreclosure sale during the period.
If statistics from the first nine months play out for the rest of the year, about 4,000 homes in the state will have been in some part of the foreclosure process during the year.
There’s no way to minimize that damage. It is disruptive when anyone loses their property for failure to repay a loan. The number of foreclosures in the state clearly have increased in the last couple of years. The longer the state and national economies are unable to begin a noticeable recovery, the higher the possibility that foreclosures will increase.
Perhaps the better way to look at this is to note that Mississippi’s trends compare extremely favorably with those in other states.
Quite simply, Mississippi’s foreclosures have increased in the last four years, but they remain exceptionally low.
The state had 1,042 foreclosure proceedings in 2006; 1,997 in 2007; and 2,367 in 2008. The state’s highest number of homes in foreclosure was in 2009, when 5,401 residences were part of the process.
If 2009 was the peak, that is good news, since that 5,401 count is less than one-half of 1 percent of all the homes in the state.
In the states with the biggest real estate problems, foreclosures truly are unbelievable. Nevada had the highest rate in 2009, 10.1 percent of all homes in the state. California, Florida and Arizona also had large percentages, ranging from 4.75 percent to 6.12 percent.
Nationally, more than 2.8 million homes were in foreclosure in 2009 — 2.2 percent of all residences in the country. Mississippi’s foreclosure rate is less than one-fourth of that figure.
Mississippi’s foreclosure percentage obviously benefits from the state’s lower per-capita income. Less money means a smaller percentage of people own a home, and also that fewer people had money to speculate in the housing market.
Whatever the reasons, it has been Mississippi’s good fortune to avoid the immense number of foreclosures suffered by other states. This is one state trend that hopefully will continue.