While processing the District's foreclosure data for April 2008, I wondered whether that month's number of notices of foreclosure sale was abnormally high. There have been many press reports about the spike in the number of foreclosures nationwide and I was curious whether the District was in line with the national data.
While the volume in 2008 is much higher than that of 2007, how does it compare to 2006? Is 2008 an anomaly? To answer the question, I got my left-brain and browser to work and collected the District's monthly notice of foreclosure sale data for 2000 - 2008. I researched that span of time because it predates the housing boom/bust and the Internet bust and, I hoped, would eliminate data distortions those events might engender. Understand: I'm not a statistician so I didn't calculate standard deviation, perform a t-hat test, or anything like that.
Interestingly, the data show that 2008's rate of notice of foreclosure sale, while high through April, is only 18% higher than the same period (January - April) in 2000, but it is almost triple that of 2007. Beginning in 2001, the aggregate number of notices declined YoY until December 2006, when the upward climb began.
A question that comes to mind is whether, in the context of foreclosures, the market's returning to normalcy? Moreover, why the fall in the number of foreclosure notices beginning in 2001 - is that directly attributable to the Fed's easing of interest rates? Or is more related to the fact that in the housing boom, it was easier to sell and escape foreclosure?