I must confess, I didn’t know what this term was until today.

In a recent study, RealtyTrac compared its database of bank-repossessed homes to MLS listings of for-sale homes. It found a significant disparity – only 30 percent of the foreclosures were listed for sale in the Multiple Listing Service. The remainder is known in the industry as “shadow inventory.”

What is Boston Real Estate Shadow Inventory

A vast “shadow inventory” of foreclosed homes that banks are holding off the market could wreak havoc with the already battered real estate sector, industry observers say.

Lenders nationwide are sitting on hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes that they have not resold or listed for sale, according to numerous data sources. And foreclosures, which banks unload at fire-sale prices, are a major factor driving home values down.

“We believe there are in the neighborhood of 600,000 properties nationwide that banks have repossessed but not put on the market,” said Rick Sharga, vice president of RealtyTrac, which compiles nationwide statistics on foreclosures. “California probably represents 80,000 of those homes. It could be disastrous if the banks suddenly flooded the market with those distressed properties. You’d have further depreciation and carnage.” Source SFgate.com

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