One in every 52 short sales in the first half of 2010 were “suspicious,” with the lender possibly falling victim to fraud, according to an analysis by CoreLogic..California led other states in these questionable transactions, with about a third of the suspicious short sales in the first part of last year, the analysis shows.
CoreLogic says that by the end of 2011, U.S. banks could face losses of $375 million because of short sale fraud. In the “suspicious” transactions, a short sale is quickly followed by a resale for a substantially higher price, sometimes on the same day. “This study reveals that short sales that show another sale transaction closing on the same day account for 16 percent of all suspicious short sales in the industry,” said Tim Grace, senior vice president of Product Management and Analytics at CoreLogic. “These same-day resales are on average $50,000 greater than the lender agreed upon short sale price.”
Investment companies are involved in a “largely disproportionate amount” of suspicious short sale transactions, the report states. Investors in limited liability companies are the buyers in 2% of all short sale transactions, but in 28% of the suspicious cases.
The estimated $375 million in losses for 2011 is up more than 20% from $310 million in estimated losses for 2010.
As part of the study, CoreLogic examined more than 450,000 single family residence short sales completed in the past three years.