The expected rise in REO supply will “challenge” housing markets in areas with high concentrations of foreclosures,Mr. Lawler adds. But he doesn’t think the effect on prices will be as severe as it was in late 2008 and early 2009, when loan servicers dumped huge amounts of property on the market.

The numbers through March 2010 are estimates, the rest are projections.It’s a bit like guessing how many pennies are in a gallon jug at the state fair, but housing analysts keep trying to count how many foreclosed homes banks and mortgage investors own.Why should we care? Unlike at the state fair, there is no prize for guessing right. Still, if we can track the number of these REO (“real estate owned”) homes, we can get some sense of how banks and others are doing in their efforts to dispose of the properties and how much longer they will be weighing on the housing market.The good news is that two of the leading contenders in this guesstimating game–Tom Lawler, an independent housing economist and gentleman farmer in Leesburg, Va., and Robert Tayon, an analyst at Barclays Capital in New York–have been comparing their methods recently and learning from each other. Both are in the same ballpark and both say the REO count is on the rise.
By James R. Hagerty, May 28, 2010 WSJ

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05/28/10 WSJ