Posts by Chris Bowden
James “Chris” Bowden is senior vice president of HomeSteps®, a unit of Freddie Mac. He is responsible for overseeing the disposition of the national portfolio of single-family homes Freddie Mac acquires through foreclosure. HomeSteps is headquartered in Freddie Mac’s Southwest Regional Office in Dallas.
Owner-occupants buy about two-thirds of the foreclosed homes sold by HomeSteps®, Freddie Mac's REO sales unit. That's an average we shoot for because we believe a strong emphasis on selling to owner-occupants can help stabilize communities and local home prices. But as the housing recovery took hold, it became a challenge to maintain that average. Fewer REO homes were going on the market. Buyers looking for a house to live in began losing ground to well-heeled investors looking for single-family homes they could rent.
With mortgage interest rates at record lows and single-family home affordability at an all-time high, there has never been a better time to buy. In the wake of the recent housing crisis, it's increasingly common for prospective homebuyers to consider buying a real estate owned (REO) home – one that has gone through the foreclosure process and is owned by a bank or other institution. While the process for buying an REO is a lot like buying any other home, it's important to understand what you should know before you buy.
Are America's housing markets warming up? The evidence from our own experience as a national seller of foreclosed (real estate owned, or REO) homes suggests they just might be.
HomeSteps, Freddie Mac's REO sales division, sold more REO than it took in during the second quarter and continued to reduce its national inventory of foreclosed homes. Specifically, as the chart below shows, sales outpaced acquisitions by 6,041 homes and the inventory fell to 53,282 at the end of the second quarter.
Community stabilization is a critical component of our work to support the nation’s housing recovery. Stable communities foster steady home values and safer neighborhoods, which are important contributing factors to the growth and prosperity of local economies and their residents.
At Freddie Mac, we help to stabilize communities in a number of ways, including our foreclosure prevention activities, our work with national and local nonprofits, and by practicing responsible REO management and disposition. Our REO strategies play a key role in stabilizing communities and neighborhoods by encouraging first-time homebuyers and owner-occupants to purchase REO properties – homes that we have maintained to offer quality housing opportunities for America’s families.