Foreclosures Continue To Concentrate Across Just 3 States

3 states account for more than half of July 2009 foreclosuresForeclosure-tracker RealtyTrac reports that the number of foreclosures nationwide rose 7 percent on a month-to-month basis last month.

However, 3 states dominated the foreclosure list, tallying more foreclosures between them than the rest of the country combined.

  • California : 30.0 percent
  • Florida : 15.7 percent
  • Arizona : 5.4 percent

On a per-household basis, the states ranked 2, 3 and 4. Only Nevada’s foreclosure rate was higher.

Now, we point out these statistics for two reasons. 

The first is to remind you that foreclosures can be highly local.  For all of the foreclosure-related stories that run in the papers and on TV, defaults make a much larger impact on home values in some areas versus others.

And, second — foreclosures can represent a terrific buying opportunity.  Not every foreclosed home is in pristine condition, but there is a plethora of affordable housing out there, suitable for first-time buyer, move-up buyers and investors, too.

Furthermore, as banks get better at disposing of foreclosed homes, the process of buying one isn’t as challenging as it was, say, 12 months ago. 

As part of its research, catalogues a lot of foreclosed homes and lists them online.  However, you may find it better to start your search with a local real estate agent that knows the foreclosure market.

So long as buying foreclosures is a high-touch process — and it is a high-touch process — you may want to have a human face and agent to guide you through it.

The complete RealtyTrac report is available online.