I don't know why I titled this post the way I did, but it is the first thing that came to mind after reading this:
There is probably even more excess housing inventory gumming up the market than current statistics indicate, thanks to a wave of foreclosures that has yet to hit the market.
The problem: Many foreclosed homes and other distressed properties that are now owned by banks have yet to be listed for sale. The volume of this so-called 'ghost inventory' could be substantial enough to depress already steeply falling prices when it does go on the market.
"That's not good news," said Pat Newport, an analyst with IHS Global Insight. "[Excess] inventory is the biggest problem in housing these days, and it leads to lower housing prices, which leads to more foreclosures."
RealtyTrac, the online marketer of foreclosed properties, recently discovered that it has far more foreclosed properties listed in its database, which the company compiles using courthouse records, than there are listed in the multiple listing services (MLS) maintained by real estate agents.
RealtyTrac looked at listings in four states, California, Maryland, Florida and Wisconsin, and found that they contained only a third of the foreclosures it has in its database.
There is a house in my area that falls into this category. I know the house has been foreclosed on, but the house is not yet for sale, although there is a Realtor's lock on the door from when it was on sale.