Foreclosure Listings; an Essay on How to Get the Best From Them

By: philip smith

Foreclosure Listings are a valuable resource for the buyer who knows that right now, going into the winter and holiday season, is an excellent time to buy well.

The housing market is said to be 'correcting' nationally, in some states a 'slump' cannot be ignored. .There are some real estate investors who have been caught out in a liquidity crisis. Investors and home owners, both first home and 2nd home buyers, speculating that the dramatic housing price rises of the decade would continue, have been caught in a squeeze as prices fall and mortgage interest rates climb. Other home buyers with bad credit ignored all commonsense and took out no deposit and other sub prime loans in the last 2 to 3 years. The home ownership rate has risen nationally to historic proportions; more home owners are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. Although the Federal Reserve Bank has acted now to brake the rise in interest rates, the tide of foreclosures in some states may not be stemmed quickly without a corresponding correction in economic activity in the same region.

Looking deeper into the picture state by state the buyer will find that national foreclosures data is of little use in directing the buyer to where he has the best advantage. Within each state there can also be a great divergence in foreclosure statistics. House prices have risen far higher than income per capita over the last decade in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston, resulting in an affordability crisis now. Yet in Dallas, some areas of the Mid West and also the South East there is little or no divergence between the rate of housing price increase over the last decade and the rate of per capita income increase. Foreclosure filings have been on the rise in these latter regions but both costs of living and house prices have remained affordable. The average foreclosure sale price this last quarter in California was around $360,000, in Texas was a very reasonable $125,000.

All this is by way of underlining that the foreclosures home buyer, knowing that the bottom of the market is near in some states, must look first at the local economic fundamentals. He will target foreclosures for investment (second home, home and income, or rental or starter home) in cities where affordability is not an issue, and economic activity is renewing with private-sector job growth noticeable. Foreclosure listings by city and county within a state are a vital first step in the search for the best investment. Only then can he move on through the listings to select neighborhoods or communities by analysing their demographics.

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