Volatile Distressed Home Market Underscores Realtors’ Key Role


Conditions remain volatile for distressed residential properties in Southwest Florida, although foreclosure cases are falling. A realtor who can help clients, either as buyer or seller of Sarasota homes for sale, would be a valued resource to expertly navigate through the possible market shifts. One factor to watch is another wave of discounted bank-owned residential properties which could hit the region’s market in the months ahead.

As of end-June, 1 of 2014, 128 residential properties in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro area were reported as late-stage foreclosures scheduled for auction. Those which failed to attract the right bids are expected to hit the market as foreclosure listings. Inventory levels may consequently rise with the additional bank-owned home listings and pose headwinds for improving home values.

In Sarasota, distressed home sales remained significant at 20.1% of the 1,048 residences sold in June, up 16.6% from April but down 20.7% from a year earlier. The May median price for the 727 single family homes sold for the month stood at $195,000, up slightly by 2% from May’s $191,500 but down 2.4% from April’s $196,250.

Unlocking selling/buying opportunities

Volatile Distressed Home Market Underscores Realtors’ Key Role

With this scenario, prospective home sellers need to work with a realtor who can help them formulate a viable pricing strategy based on a professional viewpoint and interpretation of prevailing market conditions. An agent of such caliber is likewise a seller’s partner in devising an overall marketing plan. Typically, one of the approaches is to make the listing competitively presented in the MLS of Sarasota homes for sale.

For buyers, particularly aspiring first-time homeowners, the preferable realtor to work with is a specialist in REOs (real estate-owned) or bank foreclosed properties that are regularly being unloaded onto the market and still remain at high levels in Southwest Florida and all of the Sunshine State.

Close eye on the market

The foreclosure rate in Southwest Florida during the 2014 first half was at 1.03%, or one per 97 units, the 13th highest in the country, according to the industry research firm RealtyTrac. For the entire Florida, the foreclosure rate was estimated at one for every 74 units, almost three times the national average and the country’s highest during this year’s first six months.

Prospective buyers will likewise be well-advised to work with an alert agent who can provide up-to-date information on desirable listings of Sarasota homes for sale. Although REOs or foreclosures still maintain a strong market presence, their availability could decline eventually with the market also showing signs of returning to normal levels.

Foreclosure notices dropping

In the April-June period this year, Southwest Florida properties under foreclosure proceedings declined by 11.8% from the first three months of the year to 2,701 cases. Compared to year-ago figures, a 29.6% decline has been estimated. The 1,059 foreclosure cases in June were likewise down 32.6% from a year earlier.

Significantly, the bulk of the decline came from initial foreclosure notices or lis pendens cases. During the second quarter, new foreclosures filed in the region totaled 686, down 49% from the April-June period in 2013.