Distressed Properties Are 45% of Home Transactions during August; First-Time Homebuyers Account for 43% of Purchasers, New Survey Shows

WASHINGTON (Sept. 17, 2009) -- Distressed properties accounted for 45% of all properties purchased with the assistance of real estate agents in August 2009, according to respondents to the Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance Monthly Survey of Real Estate Market Conditions. Damaged Real Estate Owned (REO) accounted for 17.7% of properties purchased, move-in ready REO accounted for 15.6%, and short sales accounted for another 11.8%. The proportions of all three distressed property categories varied by less than one percentage point from the percentages surveyed for July 2009.

California had the highest proportion of distressed property sales with 70% of all properties being damaged REO, move-in ready REO, or short sales. The oil-producing states of Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma had the smallest proportion of distressed property sales, with only 22% of properties purchased falling in one of the three distressed categories.

“Our survey respondents indicate that the number of transactions in California is increasing and that prices in the state also ticked up from July to August,” commented Thomas Popik, research director for Campbell Communications. “Nonetheless, most of the transactions result from distressed properties that are listed and sold at extreme discounts. For example, the average price for damaged REO in California is less than one-half the average price for non-distressed property. In contrast, survey respondents indicate that regions with a greater proportion of non-distressed properties are still experiencing slow sales and declining prices.”

In August 2009, first-time home buyers accounted for 43% of homes purchased, up slightly from 42% during the month of July. Importantly, first-time homebuyers concentrated their purchases in the categories of move-in ready REO and short sales.

The survey obtained hundreds of comments from real estate agents regarding current market conditions. In general, agents indicated that market conditions are stable with more transactions in the lower price ranges. "Lower-priced properties are selling quickly here -- perhaps due to the $8,000 tax credit. The higher price properties are staying a longer time on the market and are often dramatically reducing their prices," reported a real estate agent in the Texas market.

Researchers and analysts interested in subscribing to the full survey results should contact John Campbell at john@campbellsurveys.com or (202) 363-2069. Subscribers are provided:

  • A database of buyer-side transactions with data elements for location of respondent, time period, property category, homebuyer type, financing method, sales price and buyer-side commission
  • A database of listing-side transactions with data elements for location of respondent, time period, property category, homebuyer type, sales price, listing price, time on market, number of offers and listing-side commission
  • Individual index responses on monthly changes in home prices, number of closed transactions, REO inventory, short sale inventory, and non-distressed inventory, with each response coded by location of respondent and time period
  • Textual comments from survey respondents on local market conditions that can be sorted by both time period and location of the respondent

Respondents to each monthly survey exceed 1,000 and approximately one-quarter of survey respondents typically provide written statements of current market conditions.

Campbell Surveys will conduct a telephone news conference to discuss the survey results on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 11 a.m. Thomas Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys, will be available to discuss the survey results and answer questions. Contact John Campbell for the news conference dial-in number and passcode.



CONTACT: John Campbell, (202) 363-2069, john@campbellsurveys.com




After the November elections, how long will it take for a new Congress and White House to pass GSE reform legislation?

I’m confident a bill will be passed the first year.


2 to 3 years. GSE reform is complicated.


Sadly it won’t happen in a Clinton or Trump first term.


Not in my lifetime.


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