The surge in lower-priced distressed homes continue to sustain Mesa foreclosure investing.

In the first quarter, foreclosure filings in the Phoenix-Mesa area continued to surge, posting a 23-percent increase in the first quarter compared to the previous period and a 9-percent increase compared to the first quarter of last year.

One foreclosure was posted for every 38 households in the area, equivalent to 2.63 percent of all residential units. Compared to other metro areas in the country, the Phoenix-Mesa area ranked seventh in rate of foreclosure activity in the first quarter.

As Mesa is a bedroom community to Phoenix, economic developments in Phoenix significantly affect Mesa. Business closures, job losses and foreclosure activities in Phoenix have been spreading their adverse impacts into Mesa.

Another factor favoring Mesa foreclosure investing is the continued fall of home prices in the area. Based on studies by an online real estate firm, the city of Mesa is among four cities in the country with the highest percentage of homes sold with price reductions in April this year. In Mesa, 31 percent of all homes sold in April this year had reductions from their listing prices.

The other cities with the highest percentages of price reductions were Milwaukee, with a 34-percent price reduction percentage; Phoenix, with 32 percent; Minneapolis, with 32 percent; and Dallas, with a reduction percentage of 30 percent.

In contrast, the number of price reductions in other major markets dropped by more than 40 percent while the number of price reductions nationwide fell by 26 percent.

The increased number of properties posted for public foreclosure auctions in Arizona in the first quarter also contributed to price reductions in Mesa and in other cities of Arizona. A total of 55,686 homes were put into distressed status during the quarter, marking a jump of more than 22 percent from the previous period and an increase of more than 13 percent from the same quarter in 2009.

In the first two months of the year, Arizona ranked second in the foreclosure charts, behind perennial top placer Nevada. In March, Arizona ranked third to give way to California which posted a higher foreclosure rate.

Of the total foreclosures filed in Arizona in the first quarter, a total of 21,442 properties were already written in foreclosed home listing books and the rest were pre-foreclosures. Whether people focused on Mesa foreclosure investing prefer preforeclosures or bank repossessed properties, inventories for both types are still at levels favorable to investors.

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