Number of foreclosures could be good news for home buyers, neighbors

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ORLANDO, Fla. - For some it feels like a flashback from the fall of the housing market. Channel 9 learned that in the last year the number of foreclosures for sale in Orlando jumped by 125 percent.

One real estate expert told Channel 9's Karla Ray that the high number of foreclosures is a good thing for those people looking to buy.

They said that right now home inventory in the Orlando real estate market is low and home prices are on the rise.

Orlando Regional Realtor Association chairman Zola Szerence said that in March of last year there were only 731 foreclosures for sale in the Orlando Market. He said that this March there were 1,648.

"I think there's going to be more availability for first-time homebuyers and conventional homebuyers to enter into the market," said Szerence.

But Szerence said the overall inventory of homes for sale is still down.

He said that means trying to get a bargain on the newly available foreclosures could turn into a bidding war.

The good news, he said, is for those looking for a home, as prices go up there are fewer cash buyers.

He said as foreclosures enter the market and are sold neighborhoods will improve and surrounding property values will go up.

"People are going to get their right homeowners and properties are going to be taken care of," said Szerence.

"Because you think they're going to sell fast?" Ray asked.

"That's absolutely. There's a need for it. We need the inventory," said Szerence.

During last year's legislative session Florida lawmakers changed the foreclosure process after years of struggling real-estate markets state-wide.

Older state law favored the rights of homeowners with a number of appeals and modification options, but the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act allows any lienholder to expedite the foreclosure process and makes judgments final.

 "Foreclosure processes usually take 441 days in this country and in the state of Florida it took over 800 days to do that, and that was because of the law," said Szerences.   

Now as homes are pushed back onto the market for the first time in years experts said the inventory of homes available could soon see an upswing.

"Thank God it's more inventory for our buyers who are searching because we had a lack of available properties in the last few years," said Szerences.