MANATEE — Buyer interest in foreclosed homes is waning as a growing number of them are poised to hit the market, a combination that could spell trouble for the U.S. housing market's recovery, according to survey results released Thursday.
Just 45 percent of those questioned said they would consider buying a foreclosure, down from 55 percent a year ago, according to a national online survey conducted for RealtyTrac and Trulia.com. The most common concerns cited: potential hidden costs, a risky, time-consuming process and fears the home will lose value after the purchase.
"It appears that potential homebuyers are taking a more realistic view of foreclosure purchasing," said Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac's senior vice president.
At the same time, lenders are repossessing U.S. homes at a record rate: 918,000 last year and another 258,000 in the first three months of 2010, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing service. Only about 30 percent of those properties are on the market.
The remaining "shadow inventory" has stoked fears that lenders will swamp the market with foreclosures, further depressing prices. But Sharga said lenders have been managing that inventory "in an orderly, measured manner" and are unlikely to suddenly open the spigot.
"We're not going to see a flood," he said during a conference call with reporters. "We're going from a trickle to a steady stream."
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