SACRAMENTO — For years real estate agents have steered buyers away from "short sales," labeling them a mind-numbing, difficult experience that could exhaust the patience of the biblical Job.
Now buyers can hardly avoid them.
"When it's 50 percent of the inventory you don't have a choice," said Scott Williams, a Roseville-based ReMax broker. Williams specializes in a complex transaction that may be the next evolution of the real estate market in Sacramento.
Banks, with their balance sheets battered after 40,000 capital-area foreclosures since early 2007, are finally warming up to short sales, a traditional marker of soured real estate markets. Increasingly, so are buyers. Some analysts believe short sales those transactions in which banks accept offers below what they're owed to avoid the higher costs of foreclosing may help avert a few thousand new foreclosures in the capital region.
"I still see a ton of defaults coming down the line but a large percentage, 50 percent or more of these, will get done as short sales and keep the flow of repos to a manageable level," said Williams. "I don't see us getting flooded."
Industry analysts say half the for-sale signs in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties that aren't bank repos are short sales.
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