Augusta bucks trend

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Foreclosure activity in the Augusta area declined 33 percent from March to April, according to online foreclosure marketplace RealtyTrac.

In the six-county Augusta metro area, 262 foreclosures were filed in April, down from 396 in March but higher than the 251 in April 2008.

According to RealtyTrac, Georgia remained one of the top 10 states in foreclosure rate with 11,521 filings in April, a rate of one foreclosure for every 344 households.

The number of national foreclosure filings -- default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- was 1 percent higher in April. Nationally, 342,038 properties went into foreclosure.

"Much of this activity is at the initial stages of foreclosure -- the default and auction stages -- while bank repossessions, or REOs, were down on a monthly and annual basis to their lowest level since March 2008," said James Saccacio, the chief executive officer of California-based RealtyTrac. "This suggests that many lenders and servicers are beginning foreclosure proceedings on delinquent loans that had been delayed by legislative and industry moratoria. It's likely that we'll see a corresponding spike in REOs as these loans move through the foreclosure process over the next few months."

44 STATES SEE SALES FALL

Home prices: Prices fell in nearly nine out of every 10 U.S. cities in the first quarter of the year as first-time buyers looking for bargains dominated the market.

The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that median sales prices of existing homes declined in 134 out of 152 metropolitan areas compared with the same period a year ago. Prices rose in the other 18 cities.

Nationwide, sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties made up about half of the market. Overall, sales dipped 6.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

Home sales fell in all but six states - Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida, Virginia and Minnesota, where buyers have been able to snap up foreclosures at a deep discount. Sales more than doubled in Nevada, rose 81 percent in California and grew 50 percent in Arizona - signaling that the worst might be over for those distressed states.

"We are finally beginning to see the seeds of a bottoming" in housing, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said at the Realtors' midyear conference in Washington, though he cited the massive inventory of unsold properties as a big concern.

Foreclosures: 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, with Nevada, Florida and California showing the highest rates, according to data released today.

One in every 374 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing last month, the highest monthly rate since foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. began its report in January 2005.

April was the second consecutive month with more than 300,000 households receiving a foreclosure filing, but the April number was less than 1 percent above that posted in March . The March data were up 17 percent from February and 46 percent from a year earlier.

The number of repossessions by banks was at its lowest level since March 2008, but RealtyTrac said that number is likely to increase in coming months.

- Associated Press

BY THE NUMBERS

$169,900

First-quarter median sales price for a home in the U.S., a 13.8 percent drop from the same period in 2008

6.8%

Overall decrease in home sales in the first quarter from 2008 to 2009

342,038

Households that received at least one foreclosure notice in April

63,900

Homes repossessed in April

Sources: National Association of Realtors, RealtyTrac Inc.

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usncporet
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usncporet 05/13/09 - 09:14 am
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This screams of the old adage

This screams of the old adage "it just sucks less." Our average sales price is over $10,000 below the median, our market is down 17% on 2008, which was down 22-24% on 2007, which in turn was down slightly from our best year (per MLS numbers) on 2006. Bucking what trend?

truthteller1
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truthteller1 05/13/09 - 10:13 am
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All this is an example of how

All this is an example of how fortunate Augusta is in having major GOVERNMENT funded operations located in the CSRA - Fort Gordon, SRS, MCG, VA, etc. who are still hiring and for that matter still able to pay employees. Please Please don't give any credit to the pathetic politicians who will be standing in line to tell us what a great job they are doing compared to the rest of the U.S.

augustanewbie
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augustanewbie 05/13/09 - 11:33 am
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It's called making the data

It's called making the data say what you want it to say. In my view many in this town have been brain washed into believing that this market is immune to the housing downturn. This type of reporting just continues that deception. Average days on market while down month to month is still higher than same month last year (108) and much higher than 2005-2007 average for April (81 days). And the absorption rate (months it would take to clear all inventory) is still high at 10.5 months for April (12.4 YTD) This compares with averages for 2005 (5.9) 2006 (5.6) and 2007 (7.5). And none of this takes into account the potential backlog in foreclosures that were delayed due to moratoriums. If there are distressed properties waiting in the wings the prices could fall again. But I bet we will not see that headline.

jsherrill
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jsherrill 05/13/09 - 11:59 am
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Same old government

Same old government double-speak. As any economist would tell you, you can skew the numbers to say what you want it to say. The government would not tell you the truth because it has told so many half truths that the truth got lost in translation.

usncporet
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usncporet 05/13/09 - 12:04 pm
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@augusta newbie - glad to see

@augusta newbie - glad to see im not the only one with MLS access ready to take a stand against the machine. We are far from out of this mess - and there are 409,000 more ARMS scheduled to adjust this year. No way they'll all qualify for "adjustment" or refinance.... I stick with what I said earlier, but would change it to say "it sucks more." Telling the public that more homes sold in April than in January is the Homer Simpson approach. Ya think?!?!?

rainboot
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rainboot 05/13/09 - 05:00 pm
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I used to be in Senior

I used to be in Senior Management in the real estate industry. When the bubble was intact it was great. Easy sales, easy money. We all got rich - at least those of us who were reasonably smart. Now, the problem is you actually have to do more than stick a sign in a yard and maintain a pretty website. Now you actually have to connect with people and WORK to SELL a house. The people who complain are the people who lack the connections or the work ethic to survive in this economy. Throw your numbers around - that is fine. It is nothing more than smoke screen for your own lethargy. Don't impress me with your arguments about why things are slow. Impress me with your plan to overcome the obvious obstacles that this economy presents. Be smart about your business and you will still do very well this year. Or, spend your time coming up with detailed excuses about why you can't succeed and then blame someone else for your misfortune. The other option is far too painful - work hard, work efficiently, and live within your means. I expect at least 2 people from this thread to flame up at what I am saying. My prediction is - the louder they flame the less likely they are to succeed. Wrong focus.

Batman
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Batman 05/13/09 - 10:10 pm
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Don't believe the data. I'm

Don't believe the data. I'm a Realtor and the reason April is down vs March is because March was WAY WAY higher than normal. In Dec, Jan & Feb, banks postponed most foreclosures waiting to see what the Gov't would do. In March, they filed foreclosure on TONS of houses that should have been foreclosed on earlier.

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