Where to find a good price on foreclosed homes

  • Realtor.com

    (MoneyWatch) During the worst of the housing crisis in 2011, when real estate prices were at their lowest, you could get amazing deals on foreclosed homes. Homebuyers across the country could find foreclosure properties that last sold for $250,000 going for $25,000.

    Two years later such bargains are rare, largely because investors who have snapped up as many distressed properties as they can get their hands on. Even if many homeowners remain behind on payments, the foreclosure crisis that raged after the housing crash is starting to die down.

    “We’re over the hump and moving toward getting rid of all the foreclosures, but they’re still there,” said Julie Zisfein, a researcher with real estate marketplace Auction.com.

    Foreclosure rates have fallen nationwide to 4.8 percent of all homeowners, although that remains much higher than normal.

    “For example, in Miami, the foreclosure rate used to be 19 percent, but now it’s 15.6 percent -- that’s still the highest foreclosure rate in the country,” Zisfein said. “If you look at that in a vacuum, it’s heading in the right direction, but it’s definitely still an issue.”

    Foreclosures in states such as Florida, Ohio and Nevada still offer big savings for homebuyers. But foreclosure discounts are also available ins some markets that weren’t hit hard by the crisis. Foreclosed properties are going for 41 percent less than non-distressed homes nationally, according to real estate information site RealtyTrac.

    Despite a 28 percent drop in foreclosures over last year,  tens of thousands of foreclosures hit the auction block every month. In so-called "judicial" states, where the lender has to go through the courts to foreclose, those numbers are actually climbing--foreclosures are up 7 percent over last year, according to RealtyTrac.

    “The backlog of delayed judicial foreclosures  continues to make its way through the pipeline, with many of these properties now being scheduled for the public auction after starting the foreclosure  process last year or earlier this year,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, in an email.

    The median price of a foreclosure varies, but nearly every city in the country offers some kind of discount on foreclosures. Check out these 10 cities to see what kind of foreclosure deals can be had across the country.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns ThinkGlink.com, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.