Every Friday, a couple of us share the results of how the Trustees Sales on the courthouse steps came out.  I use the ASAP site  which catches most, but not all of the sales.  In general, there are 4 possible results:

–  Canceled – A scattering of these are loans that have been modified or brought current. The great majority are sales that have been postponed, but no new sale date has been posted.

–  Postponed – The sale is delayed, and a new sale date is posted.

–  Back to Beneficiary – These are the.

–  Sold – Property has been sold to a 3rd party.

For the 5 days of 11-17 February 2011, I tracked 92 properties heading to the steps, a bit less than I’ve been seeing lately.  2 were developer properties and 2 didn’t have enough information for me to track.  Of the remaining 88 planned sales, 23 were canceled, 45 were postponed, 17 went back to beneficiary, and 3 found new owners.  This is a little lower on 3rd party sales than I’ve seen in the last couple of months, but in general, the percentages are pretty representative of the number of properties that are being resolved or kicked down the road.

I’ve never understood why or how the banks are making the decisions to Cancel or Postpone, or sell or take the property back.  So I got my geek on.

11-17 Feb 2011 Canceled Postponed REO 3rd Party 3rd Party Sold $
# 23 45 17 3  
Average $ Owing $370,940 $314,076 $235,722 $169,019 $82,600
Median $ Owing $299,583 $265,270 $222,007 $183,011 $106,500

The amount owing is sometimes the unpaid principle, and sometimes principle + penalties+ interest – there is no standard for this figure and each bank handles it differently, and doesn’t include and 2nd mortgages.  3rd Party sales were pretty weak during this period, but not out of line with the properties that I’ve been seening actually going TD.

Would it be overly cynical to look at the data and reach the conclusion that the more you owe on your house, the more likely the banks will delay foreclosure action?  The toxic portfolio of loans at the higher end of our market just keeps growing and growing.