Realty Trac, a website that serves as an open online marketplace for foreclosure purchases, announced its fourth quarter foreclosure sales report for 2010, revealing that the number of foreclosures actually decreased in 2010 but still accounted for 26 percent of all residential sales. In 2009, the percentage was 29.
In 2010, 831,574 properties were sold in auctions or similar foreclosure proceedings, which is a 31 percent decrease from 2009. In the fourth quarter, there were 149,303 foreclosure sales, 22 percent less than the previous quarter and 45 percent less than the same quarter of 2009.
“Foreclosure sales in the fourth quarter faced the twin headwinds of the expired homebuyer tax credit — which began to stifle sales volume during the third quarter — and the foreclosure documentation controversy, which hit in the fourth quarter and temporarily froze sales of foreclosures from several major lenders,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Given those factors, it’s not surprising that in the fourth quarter foreclosure sales volume hit its lowest level since the first quarter of 2008.”
Do the latest results mean that foreclosures are on a steady decline? That is not clear, especially when one considers that the housing market fluctuates throughout the year. In the long term, Saccacio explained, the large volume of foreclosed homes being purchased will balance out the market, but in the immediate future, homeowners can expect to see a continued drop in home prices.
Realty Trac provides online listings for the hundreds of thousands of default, auction, and bank-owned homes. Its website offers tools to home buyers and investors hoping to capitalize on the often low-cost foreclosure sales.