2. Foreclosure inventories will rise while new delinquencies remain elevated.
Inventories will continue to rise, as around three million distressed properties progress to final bank repossession. Banks will likely ramp up the process following the usual holiday slowdown, especially given positive rulings on the MERS front (the auto-uber recorder for so many loans), and judicial states lifting their moratoria. Foreclosures will come quickly through the winter and spring months then abate toward year's end. The downward pressure on overall home prices will put more borrowers underwater and in turn keep delinquencies elevated, although not much higher than now.
3. Rents will rise, as will rental occupancy rates.
Until the employment market really starts cooking, young employees and potential first-time home buyers will remain on the sidelines, waiting for home prices to bottom. That means continued high demand for rental apartments, especially in higher-priced markets. The big question is: When do rents get too high vs. the cost of home ownership and push people back to buying?
4. Housing starts to be a tale of two markets.
Single-family home building will struggle to stay above a 600,000-unit annualized pace, as builders continue to compete with foreclosed properties. Slight improvement in demand will keep them going, but not by much. Meanwhile, the minimal supply of multi-family apartment buildings will keep investors pouring money into new construction. Builders will respond with increased multi-family starts, not just in trophy markets, but also mid-sized ones where inventories are lower.