#houses for cheap
Despite rising home prices in many markets, buyers can still find plenty of deals among foreclosures and other distressed properties.
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Foreclosures and short sales, where homes sell for less than owners owe on their mortgages, accounted for 43% of residential sales last year, according to data released this week by RealtyTrac, a real-estate-data firm. Short-sale purchases increased 4% from a year prior, while sales of homes in pre-foreclosure — that is, in some stage of foreclosure before a home is repossessed — increased 6%.
Fueling these increases are big discounts for the taking. In many markets — including Chicago; Daytona Beach, Fla.; and Santa Barbara, Calif. — buyers were able to purchase distressed properties during the fourth quarter of 2012 at an average discount of 30% to 50% to what they’d pay for a regular, nondistressed home, according to RealtyTrac. In many cases, these discounts are available in markets where real-estate prices as a whole appear to have bottomed out, experts say.
Cheap finds come at a time when many buyers are facing a tightening housing market. Real-estate listings have been dropping, pushing up prices of regular homes in many markets. As a result, listing prices of regular homes have been picking up.