Let me be clear. A foreclosure is never a good thing for a homeowner. It signifies not only a loss off financial security but also perhaps a loss of cherished memories — not to mention good credit.
But in the big picture, having a lot of foreclosures completed means the real estate market is getting healthier.
So the fact that the Tampa Bay area is tops in the country in completing foreclosures may be a good thing for the recovery of the housing market in the local area.
Yes, Tampa Bay led all major U.S. metro ares in completed foreclosures last year as lenders took back almost 18,400 homes and condos. That’s up 5.3% from 2013. Most of the rest of the nation saw a decline in completed foreclosures according to CoreLogic.com, a leading real estate tracking website.
Most realtors say that the sooner the foreclosure properties are cleared out, the sooner the market can get back to normal and begin to grow.
Local Market Is Active
With strong real estate demand in the area, foreclosure properties are still in demand. Realtors say that most properties have multiple offers and that average days on the market are less than 30 days. This covers the entire range of the market from low-priced homes to those selling for up to $1 million.
- In Hillsborough, 3,259 single family homes that had been foreclosed sold last year. That’s up 32% from the previous years. Median price rose 9%.
- In Pinellas sales shot up 34% from 2,891 to 3,875. Median price was up 8% to $81K.
Lenders Spending To Improve Property
In a new development, it seems the market is so strong that banks are investing in rehabbing the properties to make them more competitive and get the selling price up. This can only help all homes in the area. With an improved neighborhood all values will go up and the distressed homes will sell more quickly.
Also homes in good condition can more easily get loans. This leads to more sales and more homeowners — always a good thing for a market.
Even homes in the very low end of the scale are getting some attention. If the home is not valuable enough to renovate then some lenders will “white box” the home by removing all cabinets and sprayin the entire interior with white paint to remove dirt and smells.
Legal System Is Helping
Judges seem anxious to move things along too. Pinellas County judges in particular seem ready to clear the books and move the foreclosure process along. This can only help in the long run to stabilize the market.
Yet it’s clear to real estate experts, that until the backlog of foreclosures and distressed homes is finally cleaned up, the market will continue to lag and housing prices and sales will be sluggish and slow to grow at a pace that is deemed healthy.
Of course, if you are a homeowner facing a foreclosure this is not good news for you. You are still experiencing the pain and the frustration every day. If Brown & Associates can help let us know by contacting us here.