Foreclosures in the valley back to pre-recession levels - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Foreclosures in the valley back to pre-recession levels

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PHOENIX -

Americans bought fewer existing homes last month. The National Association of Realtors reports sales of re-sold homes fell 1.9 percent in September. The reason? Higher mortgage rates and rising prices.

But the drop is just down a bit from August and July, which were the highest in four years. And the market is still considered healthy.

The real estate outlook here in the valley continues to improve, especially when you look at how many people are going through foreclosure.

That number is down, way down, and that's helping speed up the recovery.

In the dark days of the housing collapse, March of 2010, there were over 5,000 residential foreclosures in one month.

Fast forward to today, and there were just 696 foreclosures last month.

"It sold in one day -- one day," says home seller Judy Stewart.

The Stewarts of north central Phoenix are moving to Idaho to be closer to family.

Their 1,900-square foot home sold in one day for $285,000. The couple said the timing to sell was right for them as their home value increased.

"We'd heard it had gone up and was on the upswing and just figured why not let's do it."

The Stewarts, along with other homeowners, are taking advantage of a sellers' market and moving on.

Their realtor says home prices continue to bounce back as foreclosures that once dragged down the valley market are dwindling.

"Thank goodness because the last couple of years it was probably 80 to 85 percent short sales and foreclosures. Now we're down to maybe 5 or 10 percent and you're dealing again. People have equity," says Bobby Lieb, HomeSmart Elite Group.

More houses on the market will make more competitive for sellers, but Lieb says this will remain a sellers' market for a while -- and this upbeat cycle will continue.

"Now when I go meet with sellers, they have equity in their houses, they're kind of excited. They can afford to buy another house, they are not being forced to rent and it just makes everybody feel a lot better about what's going on in the marketplace."

Lieb says they still receive multiple offers on some properties, so things are still competitive among buyers.

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