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Is the foreclosure rate a bad sign for South Florida real estate?

Many experts are saying that the recovery of South Florida's housing market is in full swing. Real estate transactions are taking place at a healthy pace - often in all cash deals - and home values are increasing month after month. But it appears that there is another part of the real estate sector that is also seeing increases: foreclosures.

According to a recent report, an area that includes Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach and Miami saw a foreclosure rate last month that was four times the national average. This news is in stark contrast to the vast majority of headlines concerning the South Florida real estate market, which all seem to cover the many ways in which the local market is roaring back to life.

So, could this foreclosure activity be a good thing for home sellers and prospective buyers? According to the reports, that could be just the case. It seems that lenders are also seeing the increasingly positive indicators in the South Florida market and are taking this opportunity to clear a backlog of foreclosed properties. Numerous foreclosure auctions have been announced in recent weeks, which can lead to a great deal on choice property for buyers, or present an interesting investment opportunity.

The recent reports also showed that others areas of the market are seeing some positive indicators as well. The condo market in particular saw some good numbers recently, with the median sales price of a condo unit increasing to $180,000 in May - a 20 percent increase from May of last year. It looks like anyone considering a real estate sale, either from the prospective of buyer or seller, will have a lot of factors to evaluate for the foreseeable future.

Source: Bloomberg, "Miami Tops U.S. Foreclosures as Banks Selling in Boom," Dan Levy, July 11, 2013