Foreclosure homes starting to lose their appeal, data show

Sales of homes in some stage of foreclosure declined across South Florida during the first quarter, a result of the recent “robo signer” controversy and perhaps a changing sentiment among buyers, observers say.

Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties posted 8,878 foreclosure sales in January, February and March — down 11 percent from the fourth quarter and 20 percent from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac Inc., an Irvine, Calif.-based foreclosure listing firm.

The robo signer furor led to foreclosure freezes last fall, and processing has only started to resume.

Another theory is that buyers aren’t as enamored of houses and condominiums that have been repossessed, are in default or scheduled for auction.

Buying those bargain-priced properties can take months. Also, once-stubborn sellers of homes not in foreclosure are dropping their asking prices to better compete with distressed properties, real estate agents say.

“I’ve had three or four recent buyers who specifically didn’t want to look at foreclosed properties,” said Michael Citron, an agent in Parkland and Coconut Creek. “I do feel that buyers are starting to get the idea that a foreclosure or short sale might not always be the best deal.”

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