Foreclosure filings trending down

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SARASOTA - More signs are emerging that the real estate market is on a rebound. Realty Trac has released a report that shows foreclosure filings are down.

"We're getting near the end, and it’s a big relief for all of us in the industry," says Laura Benson with the Sarasota Association of Realtors about the number of foreclosures in the market. "Now we're seeing them go down, and I think that it’s the result of the time that’s gone by. People are paying their mortgages if they can, or they've short-saled and walked away if they couldn't. So we know that this would come to a point that they would have to fall."

According to Realty Trac, first quarter foreclosure filings are down nationally by 23% when compared to the same time last year. And that trend is also being reflected here on the Suncoast with a 36% decrease in foreclosure listings for the same time period.

Keller Williams realtor Greg Owens says he's noticed the trend when showing homes. “Supply is down, demand is up, so we are getting a rise in prices. So in that effect, when a lot of times people were willing to walk away from their homes or go into foreclosure because their homes were a major liability, we're seeing a turnaround in that because there no longer a liability."

Owens says the increased property values in recent months are also a driving force behind the drop in foreclosures. "They’re going from a liability to a potential asset, and nobody likes to walk away from money."

And as prices continue to increase, many expect the number of foreclosures to drop even more -- something Benson says will do more than just help the market. "Most folks are nervous when there's an empty home nearby that’s not kept and might be a target for vagrancy or other kinds of vandalism. So I think neighborhoods are relieved to have families moving back in."

Right now in Sarasota there are only 846 foreclosed home for sale. Bradenton has 649.