For six years the so-called "Sand States"—Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada—have absorbed the lion's share of punishment from foreclosures. But as many of those markets stabilize, the foreclosure plague is moving north and east and a major cause is the congestion of the region's foreclosure processing.
The Northeast region has the fewest markets of any region among CoreLogic's top 50 but six of the bottom 20 least improved markets in terms of prices, sales and declining, according to CoreLogic's MarketPulse newsletter. The common denominator among all six is that they are in judicial states that are prone to foreclosure congestion.
"While there are exceptions to the rule, there is a strong correlation between foreclosure pipeline congestion and market improvement," wrote CoreLogic economist Sam Khater.
Albany, ranked 77th in the nation overall by CoreLogic, is the most congested market in the nation with an average of 66 properties in the process of foreclosure for every single foreclosure that is on the market (REO). Every one of the 10 top most congested markets in the nation ranked in the bottom half of CoreLogic's most improved ranking.
State foreclosure laws have a great deal to do with foreclosure congestion and improved market metrics. Nine of the 20 least improved markets all in judicial states while 8 of the 10 most improved markets are not. The two most improved markets in the country, Detroit and Denver, are among the least congested pipeline markets.
Stability is emerging in a broad-based manner, Khater suggests, but the Northeast is lagging other markets in recovery, in part due to congested foreclosure pipelines. CoreLogic analyses market health based on supply of serious delinquencies, pace of sales as well as percent change in prices.