Survey: More people willing to buy foreclosed homes

Posted May 21, 2009 10:11 a.m. EDT
Updated May 21, 2009 10:32 a.m. EDT

— With home foreclosures at record levels, the interest in them is growing among potential buyers.

More than 50 percent of U.S. adults are willing to consider buying a foreclosed home, and 40 percent see foreclosed properties as a bargain opportunity, according to a new survey.

The findings are part of a nationwide survey conducted by Harris interactive for RealtyTrac, which tracks foreclosure data across the U.S., and, a real estate search site.

North Carolina, the nation’s 10th largest state in terms of population, is ranked 34th in foreclosure activity, according to RealtyTrac’s survey for April.

Some 3,082 homes or properties were in some state of foreclosure last month. The total includes 648 notices of default, 1,371 properties that are involved in a trustee or foreclosure action and 1,063 properties that were foreclosed. The total is one in every 1,339 households.

The California-based firm reported that the number of U.S. households faced with losing their homes to foreclosure jumped 32 percent in April compared with the same month last year. Nevada, Florida and California have the highest rates.

More than 342,000 households received at least one foreclosure-related notice in April, RealtyTrac Inc. said. That means one in every 374 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing last month, the highest monthly rate since the Irvine, Calif.-based foreclosure listing firm began its report in January 2005.

The percentage of people open to the idea of purchasing a foreclosed property is eight points higher than a survey conducted in November. However, 85 percent of those surveyed still worry about problems such as hidden costs or loss of a home’s value related to foreclosures.

The percentage of potential buyers seeing foreclosures as a bargain increased nine percentage points. They also expect hefty discounts of 25 percent or more.

According to the survey, 74 percent of the adults who know something about recently passed federal mortgage assistance legislation believe the law could help home owners lower interest rates and prevent foreclosures.

“Although consumers are aware that there may be some challenges involved in purchasing a foreclosed home, they are very interested in the bargain opportunities available in the foreclosure market,” said Rick Sharga, senior vice president of RealtyTrac. “People want the best deals they can find and they are willing to go outside of their comfort zones if it means they can buy more home for less money. Consumers who educate themselves on the opportunities available will likely be rewarded.”