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Foreclosures

John reads in the Globe that Suffolk-county foreclosures are up 50% and he gets worried:

...Of course high-end condo prices are too high in the city, but people in the neighborhoods have also been riding the valuation wave. A collapse would be bad news not only for fat-cat developers but for the little guys too. Think economic downturn, layoffs, higher municipal taxes, crime wave, abandoned properties, etc.

But real-estate-agent John says relax, the Globe reporter is just showing (willful?) ignorance of statistics:

... However, nowhere does she report the most crucial data - yes, foreclosures in numbers increased, but did foreclosures in percentage increase? If the number of mortgage loans taken out last year increased by the same number as did the foreclosures, then you would expect more foreclosures.

In fact, the total number of condo sales in Massachusetts, in 2003, according to MLS, was 17,651. In 2004, it was 22,138. That is a 25.4% increase. (Single-family home sales increased a much-more modest 11.1%, from 45,000 to around 50,000.) Foreclosures increased a similar 27.8% in that time period, according to the article.

In Suffolk County (which is Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop, I believe), condo sales increased from 3,125 to 4,592, more than 46%. Foreclosures increased 49% between last year and this year, according to the article. ...

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