Real Estate Agents Dispute Rise in Foreclosures

The numbers don’t lie, and nationwide home foreclosure filings are inching upward. In July, new-home foreclosure filings rose for the first time in three years, and foreclosure starts jumped more than 20 percent in both Los Angeles and Miami. In Los Angeles, that percentage translates to just under 2,000 foreclosure starts in July, and in Miami, at 29 percent, that translates to just over 1,100 foreclosure starts. It is important readers remember that not all foreclosure starts end in foreclosure.

While many analysts responded to the latest foreclosure numbers by restating their beliefs that the U.S. housing uptrend may be nearing the end of its cycle, local agents in some of the areas where foreclosure rates are heading up say that it is too soon to make that call. Austin, Texas broker Socar Chatmon-Thomas complained to local news outlet KVUE that many media outlets are abusing the actual facts behind the foreclosure numbers in order to get more attention for their stories.

The agent cited a local news story (not by KVUE) titled, “Austin home foreclosure starts jump, according to alarming new report.” Chatmon-Thomas called the headline “absolutely 100 percent misleading” because, she said, the number of foreclosure starts happening in the area presently are still “about a quarter” of what the area posted in July 2010 in the middle of the mortgage meltdown.

“If [a reader is] just skimming the article, everyone is going to call me and say, ‘I want a foreclosure home.’ We don’t have any,” she said.

Do you think that the foreclosure numbers are troubling?