National foreclosure rates down

Homebuyers will have hard time finding foreclosed properties, existing homes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Great news for homeowners, but home buyers aren't exactly happy -- national foreclosure rates are down.

That means home buyers are actually having a tougher time finding foreclosed properties and existing homes.

When the housing market crashed in 2007, a wave of foreclosures forced the prices down. But now, with the pace of foreclosures slowing and interest rates falling, the price of the average home is on the rise.

Nationwide, the median prices of a previously owned homes is up 17 percent compared to this time last year. For new homes, the median price is up 9.5 percent.

As crazy as it may seem for some, Realtors say they're now seeing a shortage of foreclosure inventory, and in many cases, bidding wars are taking place for properties in desired neighborhoods.

Locally, Realtors say they are seeing upticks in sales in Nocatee, The Beaches, Oakleaf and the St Augustine areas.

Realtors say the prices that buyers are getting today won't be here long if the economy continues to improve.

Most home buyers are paying close to $10,000 more than they were this time last year for their house.

"Foreclosures that are in decent shape that are under maybe $125,000 are being bought up like that by investors, by head funds," said Howard Flachen, of Roundtable Realty. "There's a lot of money out there that wants that distressed property."

When asked if the real estate market is truly coming out of the recession, Realtors say they remain cautiously optimistic.

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