March 22, 2011 (Jeff Alan)
Distressed property home purchase transactions dipped in the month of February to 47.3 percent from 49.6 percent in January according to the Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey, but it was not likely the result of a healing housing market.

The report blames the dip on a nationwide delay in the listing and sale of distressed properties as mortgage servicers continued to deal with the fallout from title and paperwork issues.

The survey reveals that the number of move-in ready properties declined to 15.4 percent in February compared to 17.5 percent in January.

The number of cash transactions set a survey record as 33.7 percent of purchases in February were cash. The increase in cash transactions parallels the rise in investor activity as investors scooped up 23.5 percent of home purchases in February, up from 19.9 percent in only two months.

“We are seeing investors come back into the market. One investor told me that one house he wanted came on Wednesday PM and had 9 offers by Thursday AM,” stated an agent in New Jersey. “There are a number of investors and businesses buying up the short sale and REO properties and renovating them and then selling them as traditional sales,” reported an agent from Arizona.

The report says that as an indicator that sales may be slipping at a time of the year they should be increasing, they noted that average transactions per real estate agent dropped to 1.7 in February versus 2.1 in January.

Traditionally transactions per real estate agent rise from January to February as the spring selling season begins but the decline may signal a slow start to this year’s spring selling season.

The Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey involves more than 3,000 real estate agents nationwide each month and provides up-to-date intelligence on home sales and mortgage usage patterns.

Tags: distressed property, home purchase transactions, mortgage servicers, cash transactions, move-in ready, investors, spring selling season