Mortgagee Sales – a barometer of the economy?


Now, normally I would like to be a bastion of positivity, not least because things are so tight out there that we can’t afford for people to draw even further into their shells.  Positive thinking gets people doing deals, especially with interest rates low and likely to stay that way for quite some time.

However I did run across an interesting article today by the Unconditional Blog entitled The Mortgagee Hangover that suggest things may not be all rosy out there (which is hardly news to most, I admit).

Courtesy of this mortgagee sale graph, we can see that mortgagee sales peaked in 2009, with a noticeable decline in 2010 and seemingly continuing that decline in 2011.

What the graph doesn’t show…not quite anyway…is that as of Nov 16th 2011 there were 396 identifiable (you can’t always tell, as mortgagors understandably want to avoid the perception of the quick buck ready to be made at their expense, vs the bank that by this point just wants to get a sale) mortgagee listings on the market.

That is only a few listings short of the worst period in 2009, and has just shot up in the past few weeks very, very quickly.  The author goes on to note that:

Examining year on year data as the chart below shows, the fact is that 2011 is actually worse than 2010 when judged on the perspective of the percentage representation of mortgagee properties on the market as a proportion of all properties being marketed.

Well, is there any good news?  Are we sliding back into the worst of the Global Financial Crisis?  Hopefully, Europe’s impending recession aside, not.  To put mortgagee sales into proportion, the Unconditional Blog notes that:

by comparison NZ mortgagee listings have never represented more than 0.75% of all listings or less than 0.5% of total sales,

so we’re really talking about a miniscule slice of NZ life, notwithstanding the mini-tragedies that lie behind the statistics.  Commodity prices seem to remain relatively high, bank finance is reasonably easy to get (as long as you have land, that is), interest rates are historically low and our major trading partners are doing ok.

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About Ivan McIntosh

I am a partner of Carter Atmore Law...residing in City Road just off the busy thoroughfare of Symonds Street, Auckland, New Zealand....where we are specialist business & property development lawyers, working for both local and international clients. Proud husband to Joanna, and dad to two sons. Passionate rugby supporter. Email: imcintosh@calaw.co.nz Ph: 64 9 921 5026
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2 Responses to Mortgagee Sales – a barometer of the economy?

  1. Alistair,

    Thanks for your comment, and I do realise it is only a snapshot of people whose mortgagees have taken the step of listing their property as a mortgagee sale, not actual resulting sales. Time to complete sales (or whether they get sold at all) will have an impact on the number of listings at any one time…which also leads me to think just this minute is particularly bad, as there is otherwise a shortage of listings and they are selling in less time than in 2009.

    Nevertheless, it would be unwise to draw too many conclusions without more to go on. Anecdoctally, it does feel like we and others are experiencing a drop off in work, but we and people we know are only a minisculely small segment of a larger whole.

  2. Ivan

    As the author of the article on Unconditional, many thanks for referencing it. I just wanted to make one comment. The first chart you reference which tracks the weekly listing data of mortgagee properties is not truly a picture of mortgagee sales, although it is as good as a surrogate for that picture.

    On Realestate.co.nz we feature listings of around 95% of all licensed agents in NZ – the vast majority (it is likely to be all) mortgagee properties are sold through licensed agents and therefore what is listed is pretty much guaranteed to be sold, especially as the banks want to liquidate their unwanted asset.

    The truth is that getting access to true mortgagee sales is tough – we did through our partnership with Terralink International publish on Zoodle mortgagee registered sales – however the access to this data finished last year, so that is why I am keen to maintain a reporting of the state of listings for mortgagee properties.

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