News Column

Homes For Sale Declining Across South Florida

Oct. 4, 2011

Paul Owers


The number of homes and condominiums for sale has steadily declined across South Florida in 2011, frustrating buyers and leading to bidding wars in some cases, real estate agents say.

An October update from Chip Rowand of the Keyes Co. in Weston shows that Broward County has 13,480 single-family homes and condos for sale. In Palm Beach County, there are 15,782 homes and condos on the market.

Those figures are less than half of what they were a few years ago, Rowand said.

"We're seeing multiple showings and multiple offers if the homes are priced right," he said. "We need more inventory."

Analysts expect that'll happen soon enough as a new wave of foreclosures hits the market.

The foreclosure pipeline slowed considerably last year as banks investigated possible paperwork errors as part of the "robo-signer" controversy. Now lenders are starting to process foreclosures more quickly.

Last week, research firm CoreLogic reported that the so-called shadow inventory of homes for sale declined to 1.6 million in July from 1.9 million a year ago.

Shadow inventory is a hidden supply of homes that are likely to come on the market as a result of foreclosures.

"The steady improvement in the shadow inventory is a positive development for the housing market," Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, said in a statement. "However, continued price declines, high levels of (underwater mortgages) and a sluggish labor market will keep the shadow supply elevated for an extended period of time."

Source: (c)2011 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

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