The number of foreclosed homes for sale in the Twin Cities metro area has decreased by more than half since August 2010, to about 1,900 properties, according to an analysis of home listing data by the firm 10K Research and Marketing. The number hasn't been that low since 2007.
Real estate experts say that's good news for people looking to sell their homes, because they don't have to compete with low-priced foreclosed properties. On the flip side, that means prospective home buyers may soon face higher prices.
"Many buyers are still waiting to find out when are we going to hit bottom, 'when am I going to be able to get the best deal?'" said Realtor Aaron Dickinson. "What we're finding is that there are far fewer foreclosures than there were just a year ago, so in a lot of cases the best deals are behind us."
The number of foreclosure sales is just one part of the overall real estate market, which is still sluggish according to Jeanne Boeh, professor and co-chair of the economics department at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.
"The significance of this is that the housing market has still not recovered. You don't have a healthy housing market unless you have willing buyers and willing sellers," said Boeh. "And while the number of foreclosures has temporarily gone down, you still have quite a bit of distress in the market, and so as a consequence we still don't have a healthy housing market."
Boeh says it will likely take several years for the real estate market to recover from the economic downturn. Other real estate experts caution that the decrease in the number of available foreclosed homes could be temporary, as some banks temporarily stopped foreclosures last year after concerns about whether banks were following correct procedures.