We talk about local home prices and how the housing market is doing in general a lot on this blog. The housing market in Detroit affects a lot of other segments of the economy and is often used as a bellwether for Michigan’s progress towards economic recovery. Foreclosure rates have been fluctuating slightly nationwide over the last year, with delays from litigation causing decline, followed by an increased rate when banks tackled backlogged accounts.

However, compared to the same time last year, the tide has turned significantly for Michigan. The bank repossession rate has gone down by a notable 42 percent this month, signaling better financial standing for many Michigan homeowners. Foreclosure filings only dropped by four percent nationwide.

Overall, Michigan is fifth in the nation for foreclosure rates. There was approximately one filing for every 519 households in Michigan last month. Nationally, filings are at about one per 639 households. Experts say that the improving economy and the prevalence of short sales has prevented many foreclosures.

What this means for investors and potential homebuyers is still unclear. Since housing prices are fluctuating but generally at a low point, it may be a good time to invest in Michigan properties. At the same time, more foreclosures and bank owned properties on the market in a given area may keep the market depressed until inventory evens out.

Source: Detroit Free Press, “Bank repossessions drop 42% in Michigan,” Greta Guest, June 14, 2012.