Tom Ruff of The Information Market is THE guru for Arizona housing foreclosure data.

Tom thinks that residential foreclosures in Maricopa County peaked in August, although foreclosures will remain high for months.

Notice of Trustee Sale recordings hit their all time high in August, there were 7,271 notices recorded… We had thought that Notices would peak in August, we based this on median home prices peaking in the summer of 2006, and the greatest number of foreclosures occurring within two years of their loan origination. We have identified what we refer to as the foreclosure window, the 2nd quarter of 2005 through the first quarter of 2007. If you remember, it was March 2007 when the real easy money went away. If we look at the number of Trustee Deeds recorded based on loan origination dates, we see the following: 2004=1026, 2005=11,606, 2006=19,791 and 2007=4,574.

Let’s just assume for a moment I’m right, notices just peaked, what does this mean? Think of it as ground hog day, the next six months will be very much like the last six. Monthly notices will stay in the 6000 range, Trustee Deeds will be between 3,500 and 4,000, unless of course, someone shoots the damn ground hog.

Tom also found;

  • Nearly 46% of all resale homes sold in August were sold by banks.
  • The median sale price for non-REO’s was $229,900 and for REO’s was $156,000.
  • Over 10% of all properties sold in 2006 have already been foreclosed upon.

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Obviously, foreclosures have been the driving force behind the rapidly falling real estate prices in Arizona. If Tom is right and August 2008 turns out to be the peak month for foreclosures, then we should see the inventory of lender owned properties listed for sale to start to taper off in several months. After that, home prices could stop falling… in some areas anyway.