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DALLAS-A leading market analyst in North Texas has released year-end foreclosure numbers that speak volumes for the state of the market. Class A product of all type has been spared from the fallout although backroom talk does have more than a few “modifications” on deeds and quiet note-buying to replace courthouse step sales.

“Lenders have been very, very understanding,” George Roddy Sr., president of Addison, TX-based Foreclosure Listing Service Inc., tells GlobeSt.com. “And from our understanding, there’s been a lot of modification for deeds of trust.” He’s also “hearing” about note-buying, “but we’re not necessarily seeing it. What we’re hearing is if the lenders do have to take it back, they’re content to sit on it.”

While the foreclosure postings’ tally is higher than it’s been since 1995, Roddy’s research shows that only 9% of the posted properties are making it the auction block. “Something is being done,” he says, noting the stays are under the radar screen and not readily traceable. It could be refinancing or even partnership buyouts as well as note-buying or quiet take-backs. The snapshot is posted properties are all class B and C and this year’s final tabulation is 10% to 12% less than the dark days of the late 1980s.

Roddy says the 2003 commercial foreclosures rose 17% for a total of 1,253 postings in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin Denton and Rockwall counties. The two-year change is 38% or 911 commercial properties posted for foreclosure. With the Q4 tally completed, Roddy says there were 327 properties posted or 20 more than last year for the same period. “What we’re seeing is a pittance compared to the last downturn,” Roddy says.

Only industrial property postings decreased: 98 versus last year’s 105. What has made it to the courthouse steps, by and large, are small user properties like convenience stores, day-care centers, restaurants, auto repair centers…and a few churches. The miscellaneous category accounted for 425 postings to jump 29% in a year.

Small office buildings remain the biggest worry and are likely to be so for awhile, Roddy says. “You can’t make debt service at 60% and 65% occupancy,” he explains. There were 112 office buildings posted this year in comparison to 93 last year, according to the foreclosure service.

The multifamily arena had 103 properties posted, an increase of 11 from 2002. Retail centers rose 5% or 91 properties this year versus 87 last year.

Roddy emphasizes he’s “pretty upbeat about market conditions,” particularly with retail standing at 89% occupancy and foreclosures keeping to class B and C product. And, he adds, there’s one other bright spot in the report: no one area in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex has been hit harder than another by foreclosure notices.

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