Sunday, April 19, 2009

A bumpy real estate road remains

By Velida Alemic

Plunging prices are creating bargains not seen in years, increasing sales that are starting to shrink the outsized number of homes for sale. But there's still a long road ahead before prices stabilize in South Florida's battered housing market.

One measure of the housing market is the number of pages in Juan Reyes' book.
Each week Reyes and father-in-law, Luis Valdeon, publish the Miami-Dade Foreclosure List, a compendium of all the homes set to be auctioned by the county clerk. Three years ago it was often a lean 20 pages per week; now it bulges at more than 170.
''And we print on both sides of each page,'' said Reyes, 27, who regularly attends the mortgage foreclosure auctions. In December, the auctions were extended from two days a week to three due to the ballooning number of homes on the block.
The story of South Florida housing in 2009 remains that of a market with way too many homes for sale. That surplus -- spawned by overbuilding, excessive speculation, record foreclosures, unscrupulous lending to buyers who later lost their homes and recession -- continues to far outpace demand, leaving prices in free fall and bargains not seen in years.
There's still no sign of a pricing bottom.

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