Over the past several years, the high number of foreclosures and distressed properties has been a significant problem in the U.S., although those types of properties have presented real estate investors a unique opportunity to purchase affordable homes.
In the past few months, however, the amount of foreclosed houses has begun to trend down. According to RealtyTrac, U.S. foreclosure activity in March decreased 23 percent year-over-year, although the numbers were 4 percent higher compared to February 2014. The first quarter of this year also saw foreclosures reach a level last seen in the second quarter of 2007, good news overall for the recovery of the nation's housing market.
Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said that banks are now focused on properties that have been in limbo for a long time, causing an uptick in the amount of foreclosure starts across the country. This is in response to the smaller inventory of distressed properties.
Investment activity begins to decline
In addition to fewer foreclosures throughout the country, the number of investment homes being sold has also declined, according to the National Association of Realtors.
For example, investment-home sales dropped 8.5 percent in 2013 compared to figures from 2013, NAR reported. Only 1.10 million properties were sold.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said that the change in investment activity is understandable. He explained that buyers have lost some interest in purchasing because of rising home prices and declining inventory.
"In 2011 and 2012, investment property was a no-brainer because home prices had sharply over corrected during the downturn in many areas, creating great bargains that could be quickly turned into profitable rentals," said Yun. "With a return to more normal market conditions, investors now have to evaluate their purchases more carefully and do their homework."
Courthouse Retrieval System works closely with real estate investors and other professionals looking for in-depth information about the housing market. With an expansive collection of mortgage records, property data and much more, it is easy to gain an accurate understanding about a region.