Could Washington’s Rising Foreclosure Rate Send Prices Plummeting?

After months of decline, Washington state’s foreclosure rate is beginning to see an uptick in activity especially in the Seattle and Snohomish County areas. King County foreclosure filings in August increased by 32.2 percent from August while nationwide the rate rose only .8 percent. Statewide, the foreclosure rate was slightly worse with an increase of 38.1 percent.

The jump also gave the Seattle area and Washington higher foreclosure rates than the country as a whole. One in every 680 homes in King County and 664 homes statewide got a foreclosure filing in August, compared with one in every 681 homes nationwide. (source)

But could it be that the state is simply catching up with the rest of the country? Washington’s 2011 foreclosure law that gave homeowners facing foreclosure the right to request mediation may have only slowed down the foreclosure process not stopped it.  If this is true, we could not only see more foreclosures, but a decline in overall real estate prices due to a swelling backlog of housing inventory. That’s good news for buyers; but it may not be too advantageous to sellers.  The key to keeping housing inventory and prices balanced is quickly getting foreclosures off the market. But that will depend on how much of a backlog has been delayed by the mediation rules and how much of a demand Washington has for foreclosed properties.

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