It seems there was a surge in residential home closings in August in the twelve Lakes Region communities covered by this report. There were 133 transactions last month at an average price of $321,824. In August 2013 there were 123 sales at an average price of $302,861. For the first eight months of the year, there were 603 sales at an average price of $316,015 compared to 679 sales at an average of $287,037 for the same period in 2013. So while we are behind a little on total sales this year, the average sales price is up just a bit.
According to the MLS data there were just six bank owned sales in August. That compares to 13 bank owned in August 2013 and 15 in August of 2012. So that's a pretty good improvement on that front.
With regard to bank owned property, I heard a term on the radio this week that I don't think I had ever heard before. It's called the "Zombie Foreclosure" and the announcer on the radio promised a full report on it after the break. I am a fan of the Walking Dead so I think I would have remembered it if I had heard "Zombie Foreclosure" before, but with so much find stuff on the news sometimes things slip by. According to the teaser on the radio, apparently Zombie Foreclosures are a big problem in certain parts of the country. All I could think of was trying to kill one of these staggering, putrid domiciles with a bow and arrow like Daryl does on the Dead. How many arrows does it take to kill a four bedroom colonial, you would have to ask?
A Zombie Foreclosure home is not really dead, so don't confuse it with a dead listing which is bad enough. If you don't know what a dead listing is you can ask your real estate agent to explain it to you or look for my article around Halloween. A Zombie Foreclosure happens when a homeowner gets a notice that he is going to be foreclosed on so he packs up his stuff and moves out leaving the house unattended. Then the lender unexpectedly decides not to foreclose. No, it wasn't a sudden fit of compassion. The lender may just have had too much inventory on the books or the cost associated with that property is so high that they don't want the property back.
It is hard to believe, but apparently lenders are not required to let homeowners know that foreclosure proceedings have been halted. I suspect some homeowners didn't send the lender a forwarding address anyway! In any event, the owner is gone and unaware of the situation. The unattended house falls into that Zombie state of disrepair and the owner, who is probably living somewhere outside of Vegas by now, starts incurring additional penalties, fees, and additional property taxes that can severely affect his credit. Not a pretty picture, kind of gruesome actually.
I don't know if there are many Zombie Foreclosures in the Lakes Region right now. An article I read on the internet said that there are over 160,000 Zombie Foreclosures nationally with Florida seeming to top the list of places where they occur with over 55,000 owner vacated homes. I think it has something to do with the heat and humidity down there or perhaps the elderly owners just went out for the early bird special, got confused, ended up on I-95 and are still driving somewhere. Who knows? Let me know if you find a Zombie Foreclosure in Laconia, I wanna see what one looks like.
Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of 9/15/14. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012
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