REO Stigma Fades for Home Buyers, Survey Shows

May 31, 2012

The number of home buyers who say they are interested in purchasing a foreclosure has nearly tripled in the last two-and-a-half years, according to a new survey by Realtor.com. What’s more, 92 percent of those buyers say they would use the foreclosures as their primary residence rather than using them as investments. 

"We see a combination of factors coming into play explaining the unexpected interest in foreclosures," says Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer of Realtor.com. "Reductions in supply, expectations that home prices will rise, and changing attitudes toward foreclosures are contributing to the increased demand, especially among owner-occupants. As lenders begin processing their distressed inventories and releasing them for sale at the local level, we look to them to move carefully and monitor conditions so recently gained home values aren't diminished."

Nearly 65 percent of buyers say they’re likely to buy a foreclosure today compared to 25 percent who said that in October 2009, according to the Realtor.com survey. 

Many of these potential buyers say they expect a 10 percent to 30 percent discount when buying a foreclosed property, according to the survey.

They also see greater potential for appreciation with a foreclosure purchase. Fifty-six percent of the possible foreclosure buyers surveyed said they expect their foreclosure purchase to appreciate about 10 percent within the next five years—or about 2 percent a year, according to the Realtor.com survey. 

"Foreclosures can present a new opportunity for buyers to become home owners, especially considering the discounted purchase prices and lower down payment requirements,” says Errol Samuelson, Realtor.com’s president. “This is especially true for owner-occupants interested in improving the property, and holding to it long enough to realize appreciation that can be carried over to future home purchases.”

Source: Realtor.com

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