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Why would people list their home as a short-sale?

Because their lender is applying pressure to either make payments, short-sale, or be foreclosed. At least that is the old-fashioned way of banking.

It’s possible that, after months or years of delinquency, some might start making their payments again if they receive that magical loan-mod/principal reduction package. I just haven’t met anybody who has.

Maybe I’m a skeptic, but these stats make it appear that the banks aren’t applying much pressure – distressed listings are 1/3 of last year’s total:

NSDCC Detached-Home Listings, First Quarter

Listing Type 2012 2013
REO
56
20
Short-Sales
125
42
Regular
1,089
1,216
Totals
1,270
1,278

It might make sense for banks to be lenient in depressed areas where sales and prices are struggling, but around here we are starved for inventory. The policy is working so well that it may last a long time – the ultimate can-kicker!

San Diego County Filings

Meanwhile, another 85 new listings hit the MLS since our last reading, and we had 81 new pendings with a few cancelled/withdrawns – demand is raging:

Date NSDCC Active Listings Avg. LP $$/sf
Jan 14
649
$722/sf
Feb 4
667
$716/sf
Feb 10
679
$713/sf
Feb 25
678
$719/sf
March 6
727
$703/sf
March 11
744
$698/sf
March 16
746
$703/sf
March 23
755
$712/sf
March 31
752
$717/sf
April 5
780
$704/sf
April 11
780
$710/sf

This is the most important indicator to watch – if the active inventory starts to grow, it means buyers are backing off.

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