Friday, February 12, 2010

The True Picture: Half of all Foreclosure Issues in Only Four States

Foreclosures concentrate on 4 statesForeclosures stories dominate the national housing news. It seems at least one foreclosure-related story makes its way to the front page or the nightly news every week.

But for as much as the foreclosure filing statistics can be astounding -- over 300,000 homes were served last month alone -- the prevalence of foreclosures depends on where you live.

As reported by RealtyTrac, just 4 states accounted for more than half of the country's foreclosure-related activity last month.

  • California : 22.7 percent of all activity

  • Florida : 14.9 percent of all activity

  • Arizona : 6.7 percent of all activity

  • Illinois : 5.7 percent of all activity

The other 46 states (and Washington D.C.) claimed the remaining 49.9%.

However, just because foreclosures are concentrated geographically, that doesn't make them less important to homebuyers in Philadelphia, Palmyra and around the country. There's been more than 1.4 million foreclosure filings in the last 12 months and that's a figure that can't be ignored.

Distressed properties now play a role in one-third of all home resales.

Therefore, if you're in the market for a foreclosed home, here's a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Properties are usually sold "as-is" and may not be up to living standards. Be sure to physically inspect the home before buying it.

  2. Buying a home from a bank is rarely as streamlined as buying from an individual homeowner. Be prepared for delays and long closings.

  3. Foreclosures aren't always listed for sale publicly. Ask your real estate agent how to access the complete foreclosure inventory.

In order to use the federal homebuyer tax credit, you must be under contract for a home by April 30, 2010 and closed by June 30, 2010. That doesn't leave much time to find a bank-owned home and make it to closing. In Philadelphia we also face specific issues regarding the time needed for settlement because the deed obtained from the foreclosure sale often takes a longer time to record than in other counties. So if you're serious about buying foreclosures, it's probably best to start your search soon.

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