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Foreclosures: Where Washington Stands Today

Posted on October 31, 2008
Reprinted from the Nov/Dec 2008 issue of Washington Realtor News

s many markets struggle in today's economy and belt-tightening is happening across the board, how does Washington State compare versus national numbers on foreclosures in the housing market?
A year ago we took an in-depth look at foreclosures in our article The Facts about Foreclosures in Washington which appeared in the November/December 2007 issue of the Washington REALTOR News. As we reported at that time Washington State was much better off foreclosure-wise than the rest of the country (.49 percent versus 1.40 percent nationally). So how does Washington fair a year later?

According to the Mortgage Bankers
Association (MBA) the current foreclosure rate for Washington State as of June 2008 is 1.04 percent, whereas nationally it is 2.75 percent. Washington ranked 45 in delinquencies and 44 in foreclosures started. This means that Washington is currently performing 62 percent better than the national rate.

Due to fallout from the sub-prime mortgage issues and the downturn in the national economy our foreclosures, along with most of the rest of the country, have indeed gone up though not as drastically as some states.

The national foreclosure numbers continue to be driven by the hardest hit states continuing to get much worse. The increases in foreclosures in California and Florida overwhelmed improvements in states like Texas, Massachusetts and Maryland, said Jay Brinkmann, MBAs Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Research and Economics.

Only eight states had rates of foreclosure starts that were above the national average: Nevada, Florida, California, Arizona, Michigan, Rhode Island, Indiana, and Ohio. The remaining 42 states, including Washington, are below the national average. Because of the sheer size of California and Florida, an improvement in the national numbers, whether delinquencies, home prices or any other measure is unlikely until we see some turnaround in those two states, Brinkmann said.

While todays numbers in Washington are up from a year ago, we are still performing well based on our 10 year history. Our foreclosure numbers are below our rates from late 2001 through early 2003 when the hit to the tech industry had a great impact on our local economy.
What is comes down to is even amongst the downturn in the national economy and media storm of economic woes and financial giants folding, Washington States housing market is performing well as is our economy, and it is still a good time to buy for many.

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