South Florida Housing Market: Foreclosures Bring Boom

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Between 2003 and 2007, roughly 27,000 condos were built in South Florida.

Since then, property values have dropped between 30 and 40 percent. As a result of unprecedented foreclosures and price declines, many investors are flocking to remove the area's massive glut of homes on the market.

We see the prices going up and we see people being assured it's okay to buy now, says Ralph De Martino, Residential President of the realtor association. Most of the foreclosures, when they come on the market, they're sold in a matter of days.

In Miami-Dade County, condominium sales are up 84% and the number of condo units sold statewide rose 24 percent year over year for the month of March, but the price of those condos fell 11 percent compared with March 2010. Last month, the number of single-family homes sold statewide was up 12% and single family home prices in Miami-Dade County, rose 58%.

Prices are about as good as they're going to get, said Mark Vitner, an economist with Wells Fargo who tracks Florida.

But what happens when the shadow inventory hits the market? This shadow inventory of delinquent loans is overwhelming lender pipelines and will inevitably face liquidation and hit the market.

Standard and Poor's describes shadow inventory as an inventory of loans at least 90-days delinquent or somewhere in the foreclosure process, and properties taken into REO.

Of the 20 separate markets S&P analyzed, Miami was the only market where shadow inventory did not did expand during the first three quarters of 2010.

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