Six Fla. cities in top 20 for foreclosure buyers

MELBOURNE, Fla. – Jan. 31, 2013 – Six Florida cities rank among the best places to buy foreclosures in 2013, according to a report by RealtyTrac.

Topping a list of 20 metropolitan areas is Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, the Irvine, Calif.-based real estate data firm said.

RealtyTrac looked at four criteria in tallying the “best places”: the supply of foreclosure inventory; foreclosure sales as a percentage of all transactions; the average percentage discount on foreclosures; and the annual percentage change in foreclosure activity in 2012 compared with 2011.

Also among the top 20 metro areas for buying foreclosures are Lakeland (No. 5), Tampa (No. 6), Jacksonville (No.7), Orlando (No. 9) and Miami (No. 12), according to RealtyTrac report.

The No. 12 ranking for the metropolitan area of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach was based on the area having a 29-month supply of foreclosures, with foreclosures accounting for 28.7 percent of all sales during 2012. The average price discount on a foreclosed home in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach area was 31 percent in 2012, when foreclosure activity rose 36 percent from a year earlier, RealtyTrac said.

“Markets with increasing foreclosure activity in 2012 took the first step in finally purging delayed distress left over from the bursting housing bubble,” Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said in a statement. “Meanwhile, the underlying fundamentals in many of those markets are slowly improving, making it an opportune time to absorb additional foreclosure inventory this year – and that is particularly good news for buyers and investors hungry for more inventory to purchase in those markets.”

The greater Miami area ranked fifth among U.S. cities in foreclosure filings in 2012, with 3.71 percent, or one in every 27 housing units, receiving some type of foreclosure filing during 2012. That compares with a national average of 1.39 percent of housing units getting a foreclosure filing during that period.

Anthony Askowitz, a broker with RE/MAX Advance Realty II in Miami, said the reality of the foreclosure market is more nuanced than such statistics suggest.

“The inventory of foreclosures on the market is very low. It’s highly competitive right now for a foreclosure or a property put out as a quote ‘good deal,’” Askowitz said. “Multiple offers is the norm.”

Indeed, while the huge overhang of foreclosures has long been expected to constitute a downward pressure on home prices, robust demand for South Florida housing and a tight inventory of available homes for sale have so far trumped that force.

According to the latest Case-Shiller report released Tuesday, South Florida home prices rose 10 percent in November 2012 from a year earlier. That marked the 12th consecutive gain.

Copyright © 2013 The Miami Herald, Martha Brannigan. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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