Despite recent concerns about a shortage of homes for sale, South Florida still ranks among the top 20 markets nationwide in which to buy foreclosures this year.
Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties come in at No. 12 on the list compiled by RealtyTrac Inc. The Irvine, Calif.-based firm analyzed foreclosure inventory in the pipeline, average discounts and other factors for more than 200 metro areas with populations of at least 500,000.
Palm Bay-Melbourne topped the list, followed by Rochester, N.Y., and Albany, N.Y.
Lakeland (No. 5), Tampa-St. Petersburg (No. 6), Jacksonville (No. 7) and Orlando (No. 9) also placed among the top 20.
South Florida’s ranking is a surprise to some, given that real estate agents and buyers have complained about a lack of properties for sale. Inventories of all available homes have fallen by roughly 50 percent in the past year, with many underwater homeowners still unable to sell and others waiting on the sidelines for prices to continue to improve.
What’s more, lenders generally have held off listing foreclosed properties, in part to avoid hurting prices across the board. Some foreclosures weren’t available to the general public because they were sold in bulk to investor groups. The dearth of homes for sale has led to bidding wars and offers above asking prices.
“Any foreclosure that comes on the market is gone immediately,” said Judy Trudel of Balistreri Realty in Lighthouse Point.
“The frustration level is very high,” added David Dweck, founder of the Boca Real Estate Investment Club.
But RealtyTrac notes that South Florida had the nation’s fifth-highest foreclosure rate last year, with one in 27 homes in some stage of distress. Foreclosure filings in the three counties increased by 36 percent in 2012, an indication that more bank-owned homes eventually will hit the market, said Daren Blomquist, a RealtyTrac spokesman.
“Lenders are going to have to dispose of that property and not hold onto it forever,” Blomquist said.