In January, the Schuylkill Board of Realtors officially joined TREND MLS – which is big news. Gone is our little local MLS system which was antiquated and isolated. TREND opens up many more opportunities and search options for us – and for our clients! If you have not tried searching on our new site powered by TREND – search listings on TREND here.
While it can be much harder to show houses in January and February with the snow and cold, our office has seen steady traffic the past two months. Our buyer’s agents are still busy with buyers, despite the weather. And sellers are calling the office now, to get their homes listed, rather than waiting until warmer weather.
One trend we are seeing is an uptick in foreclosure listings coming on the market. Realty Trac places Schuylkill County in Pennsylvania’s Top 5 foreclosure counties, with 1 in 813 properties in foreclosure (Pennsylvania overall is 1 in 1363, statistics from December 2015). Yes, that’s one list we should not be proud to be on. We have seen foreclosures go in waves, starting in 2008-2009 and so this is not news. What is news is the TYPE of foreclosures we have now.
A few years ago, when we saw foreclosures many times it was younger, first time homebuyers who got in over their heads financially. Perhaps they hit a roadbump – a lost job or illness – and they could no longer pay the mortgage. This time it’s a different kind of foreclosure. Many times we are seeing older homeowners now in foreclosure – owners with 10 or more years in a home, with a little equity but not enough, who are falling into foreclosure. This is troubling. It’s like a second wave of foreclosures, but a more troubling type. We cannot blame these on new homeowners buying too much of a house this time. I’m keeping an eye on it, as I don’t quite know what this means for the rest of 2016 or the trend in what is coming next in foreclosures.