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When foreclosures and short sales are down sellers control market

When the housing bubble burst in America a few years back, it was one of the greatest losses of wealth the country had ever experienced. For some Florida residents, all of the mortgage payments they had made for years - building equity in what many people considered to be the safest investment of all - suddenly seemed to have been for nothing. It was a rough time for millions of homeowners throughout the country, but Florida was hit especially hard.

However, for some people the bottoming out of the real estate market represented another scenario: opportunity. For those individuals and families who didn't get sucked into the house-buying tsunami that immediately proceeded the housing bubble bursting, after the turn they suddenly found themselves looking at bargains in every corner of the market, including in South Florida.

But, according to a recent report, those bargain-hunting days may be getting harder in the local area. Reports indicate that there were fewer foreclosures and short sales in South Florida last year, which means that buyers can expect to find fewer properties that are owned by banks that simply want to unload the burdensome assets.

Any given real estate market is usually considered to be a "buyer's market" or a "seller's market" - they are rarely both. The best most people can hope for is that they are on the right side of the market when they are about to be part of a transaction. For years in South Florida it has been the buyers - whether it was actual homeowners or investors - who have had the upper-hand in the market. Now, in part of what has been a sustained trend, the sellers are the ones who will most likely be in the driver's seat in South Florida for the foreseeable future.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Foreclosures, short sales declining across South Florida," Paul Owers, March 30, 2014

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