December 2010 saw a sharp jump in the Distressed Property Index as reported by Campbell Surveys. The index was at 47.5% of all sales on a national level. These properties were not distributed equally around the country, with 66% of all transactions in California being distressed. Arizona and Nevada were next with 62%. My research into the downtown Charlotte market put our number at just under 35%, significantly smaller, but still a good share of the market.
Distress properties need to be sold off the market in order for a more traditional appreciation of property values to take place. I recognize the need for this to take place, and have partnered with USHUD.COM to represent foreclosure activity in the NW Mecklenburg County area. Please follow this LINK to see this.
Concerning mortgage interest rates, Freddie MAc says a 30 year Fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.8% on Jan 28th , up from 4.7% the previous week. These rates are volatile, and will vary, but the trend line is up. That appears to be a clear sign that the bottom of the market has been hit, and a return to appreciation has begun though remains modest.
The availability of distressed property, plus still favorable but increasing interest rates, should continue to fuel the regrowth of the real estate market.