For the first time since the housing crisis began, short sales are becoming more prevalent than foreclosures. In addition, new rules are coming that would speed up the drawn-out short sale process. That’s good news for home owners underwater on their mortgages as well as the economy in general: Short sales put less of a hit on borrowers’ credit than foreclosures, and they reduce the number of foreclosures flooding the market, which negatively affect nearby home values. These stories and more in this week’s housing news roundup.
The number of U.S. home short sales surpassed foreclosure deals for the first time as banks became more agreeable to selling houses for less than the amount owed on their mortgages, according to Lender Processing Services Inc. Short sales accounted for 23.9% of home purchases in January, the most recent month available, compared with 19.7% for sales of foreclosed homes, data compiled by the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company show. [Read more…]