Debate over possibility of shadow inventory in San Diego real estate market

Shadow Inventory
The real estate interview with broker of County Properties is on abc local news channel 10
KGTV San Diego aired 6pmMonday May 27, 2013.
Michael ChenReporter abc local news channel 10 KGTV san diego
Michael Chen
SAN DIEGO – The scarcity of homes for sales has led to a seller’s market in San Diego County, but is there a so-called shadow inventory of homes that could soon flood the market?
After realtor Arnie Levine put this three-bedroom home in Mira Mesa on the market, it took less than two weeks to get a full price offer.
One big reason — the lack of other inventory for buyers to look at.

“It’s critically low,” said Levine.
According to Levine, in a healthier market, there are 6,500 to 7,000 active listings in the region. Right now, there are 4,300 listings, the lowest Levine can remember in more than 12 years.
Levine says many homeowners that survived the down market are reluctant to sell.
“They figure if they wait it out, they’ll have positive equity and then they’ll sell,” said Levine.
But could those searching for a home be hit with a flood of options? Nationwide numbers show a so-called shadow inventory lurking — some 2 million foreclosures, short sales and mortgage delinquencies that could lead to foreclosures.
In San Diego County, that shadow inventory includes some 13,000 mortgages currently delinquent, according to Fitch Ratings.
“I don’t buy it,” said Mark Goldman, an SDSU Real Estate lecturer. “I don’t think we’re going to see a sudden deluge of properties.”
Goldman said asset managers have been been predicting a wave of shadow inventory released by banks for years.
“If you were to release it , this would be the time to do it. there’s a buying frenzy going on, and we’re still not seeing it,” said Goldman.
So if the banks don’t release the properties, what happens to them?
Goldman points to speculation. Banks could make more money by selling to pools of investors who would then rent out the homes.
Experts worry if the shadow inventory is released too quickly, it could deplete home prices.
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