A Post-Recession Resurgence in Creative Financing for Low-Value Homes

Following the subprime lending collapse in late 2008, there was a void in financing for low-credit borrowers with little or no down payments. Loans backed by FHA stepped in to fill some of that void, with FHA purchase loans jumping from just 3.3 percent of all purchase loan originations in Q4 2006 to 27.2 percent in Q4 2008.

But FHA loans weren’t alone in their resurgence following the fallout of subprime lending. A lesser-known (although long-used) financing instrument called a contract for deed (see definition below) gained traction in the years following the collapse of subprime lenders, particularly for low-value homes in Rust Belt cities like Detroit, Flint, Youngstown and Indianapolis.

New contract-for-deed data collected by ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s largest synthesized property database, shows the trend.

More than 103,000 contracts-for-deed were recorded nationwide in the five years following the end of the Great Recession (2010 to 2014), a 10 percent increase compared to the previous five years (2005 to 2009).

Some of the counties with above-average increases included Trumbull County/Youngstown, Ohio (136 percent increase); Wayne County/Detroit, Michigan (63 percent increase); Genesee County/Flint, Michigan (53 percent increase); Marion County/Indianapolis, Indiana (46 percent increase); Dane County/Madison, Wisconsin (26 percent increase); and Hamilton County/Cincinnati, Ohio (24 percent increase).

The average sales price for the 2010-to-2014 contracts-for-deed nationwide was $87,010, 38 percent below the average sales price of $141,423 for contracts-for-deed recorded between 2005 and 2009.
Over the same time period, average contract-for-deed prices were down 70 percent in Michigan, down 15 percent in Ohio, down 10 percent in Wisconsin, and down 12 percent in Indiana.

About ATTOM Data Solutions
ATTOM Data Solutions is the curator of the ATTOM Data Warehouse, a multi-sourced national property database that synthesizes property tax, deed, mortgage, foreclosure, environmental risk, natural hazard, health hazards, neighborhood characteristics and other property characteristic data for more than 150 million U.S. residential and commercial properties. The ATTOM Data Warehouse delivers actionable data to businesses, consumers, government agencies, universities, policymakers and the media in multiple ways, including bulk file licenses, APIs and customized reports.

ATTOM Data Solutions also powers consumer websites designed to promote real estate transparency: RealtyTrac.com is a property search and research portal for foreclosures and other off-market properties; Homefacts.com is a neighborhood research portal providing hyperlocal risks and amenities information; HomeDisclosure.com produces detailed property pre-diligence reports.

ATTOM Data and its associated brands are cited by thousands of media outlets each month, including frequent mentions on CBS Evening News, The Today Show, CNBC, CNN, FOX News, PBS NewsHour and in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and USA TODAY.

Media Contact:
Jennifer von Pohlmann
949.502.8300, ext. 139

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