Why the question marks in the heading above?
This heading was the lead article in the Tulsa World’s business section on May 13, 2011. The article shows Tulsa’s foreclosure rate per household being less than Oklahoma’s as a whole, and identifies a drop in the statistic for April from March. True enough as far as the data goes. But, what happens when we look at year to date data comparing Tulsa County, Oklahoma County, the state of Oklahoma and the USA? Interesting numbers…
See the slide show to the left of this article. Slide 1 shows foreclosure data year to date for Tulsa County. There have been 4402 identified foreclosures or foreclosures in process since the beginning of the year. The foreclosures have been broken into categories; preforeclosures, auctions, and properties becoming Other Real Estate Owned (REO) to the bank holding the mortgage on the properties. Preforeclosures are identified as properties where the lender has filed a public “lis Pendens” notice with the county publicly identifying that the property is in officially in the process of foreclosure. Auctioned properties are those that have been sold at the public auction for the county. REO are properties sold at Auction that have been retained by the lender. The best predictor for future foreclosure activity from this statistical data is the preforeclosure category. These properties have not been auctioned and have therefore not been taken as REO by the lender. However, they will be. Tulsa County has 2202 properties in preforeclosure.
Now look at Slide 2. What do you see? Oklahoma County has fewer foreclosures as a total than Tulsa, (1098 compared to Tulsa’s 4402) but more importantly only 153 of the total are in preforeclosure status. Which housing market do you think is stronger?
Slide 3 and Slide 4 present a picture of total housing units in foreclosure as a percentage of total housing units for Tulsa County, Oklahoma County, and the USA. Tulsa County’s unit in foreclosure as a percentage of total housing units is .28%, while Oklahoma County’s is .7%. The USA’s is .18%. Clearly, Tulsa County’s housing market is weaker now and will be weaker throughout the year if not beyond.
So why I am making such a big deal of this statistical data? In a word…clarity. Real estate buyers have a right to clear, complete data before they make real estate decisions. Self serving articles and information, from any source keep investors and the public from having all the data needed to make sound decisions.
As I have said many times in numerous tweets (http://twitter.com/sbgintulsa)over the past months, IT’S NOT OVER. Let’s not pretend it is, and let’s help each other make decisions that are reasonable in light of the reality of our current situation.