Sunday, January 17, 2010

RealtyTrac's 2009 Foreclosure Report Gives Reason For Optimism

Foreclosure deltas for the ten most foreclosure-heavy states of 2009

Like real estate, it appears that foreclosure activity is a local phenomenon, too.

As reported by, more than half of all foreclosure-related activity in 2009 came from just 4 states:

  1. California
  2. Florida
  3. Arizona
  4. Illinois

More than 1.4 million filings made in 2009 are attributed to the above states. Furthermore, each ranks in the Top 10 for 2009 Foreclosures Per Capita.

The other states are Nevada, Utah, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan and Colorado.

Versus 2008, foreclosures are up 21 percent nationwide and that's a big number, but a deeper look at RealtyTrac's annual reports reveals a more positive undertone on the housing market.

  1. 40 states fell below the national Foreclosures Per Capita average in 2009
  2. Foreclosure activity fell on an annual basis in 10 states as compared to 2008

Foreclosures are still prevalent, though, and buying homes in foreclosure in Philadelphia continues to be big business. Having been active in selling foreclosures for over 22 years, our firm sees this activity on a day to day basis in the inquiries from the Lender's web sites sending buyers to us. First-time buyers, move-up buyers, and real estate investors each are bidding aggressively.

Distressed homes account for one-third of home resale activity, according to an industry trade group.

That said, buying foreclosures can be tricky.

First, properties are often sold "as-is" and the cost of repairs may unwind the home's status as a "value buy". Furthermore, a lender may require specific fixes to be made prior to closing and that, too, costs money.

Second, buying a foreclosed home in Pennsylvania isn't as streamlined as buying a "normal" home. Closing on a foreclosure can be a longer process if the sherriff deed is not yet recorded, though many foreclosures can settle much faster. But you need to know the time frame since a 4-month time-frame may not fit your schedule.

And, third, finding foreclosures can be difficult. Despite the growth in foreclosure search engines, it still takes a good real estate agent to uncover the best homes at the best prices. Luckily, being such a vendor, we can make it a little easier. You should still concentrate on finding the best house for you, even if its not a foreclosure.

Read the complete foreclosure report and take a peek at RealtyTrac's foreclosure heat maps. If you like what you see, talk to your real estate agent about what to do next.

There's still good deals in the foreclosure market -- you just have to know where to find them

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