This month I’ll be going more into what is happening with foreclosures coming on the market and what that means for buyers and sellers, last month’s sales statistics and the various tools available for you to make it easier to find what you want.

I wrote in last month’s newsletter about how the inventory had been dropping and that I felt it was, in part, due to a reduction in foreclosures coming on the market due to the robosigning issue in Oct-Nov 2010 and that I’m starting to see more coming on the market now. I also wrote that I felt this might increase the inventory some but would not overall cause an adverse affect on sales since there was still such a high demand for these properties. Since then I took a look at the number of new foreclosures being listed on a monthly basis to see the trend as well as to compare to the volume prior to Oct-Nov 2010, and here’s what I found.

In August 2010 the number of foreclosed properties that were newly listed in Pinellas County were 410. Looking back to last July, the number each month thru November was below 200 a month so it was less than half of what it was. However, since a low in September the monthly number has been steadily increasing again with the biggest increase in February when it went up from 213 to 254. However, even with that increase, the inventory of residential properties for sale in the local MLS still decreased by over 300 from January to yet another low for the last 4-5 years. At the pace that sales are going, even if the number of new foreclosure listings goes up to 500 per month we should either see the inventory stay level or only slightly increase. Here’s the graph showing the new foreclosure listings from last July thru February:

Pinellas County Foreclosure Listings Chart

The statistical information used to prepare this chart was taken from MFRMLS listing information from July 2011 thru February 2012.

One reason this isn’t having as much of an effect is due to the strength of sales. There has been a good trend since December 2008 and last year saw an even more noticeable increase in sales to the point where most months were higher than the same month in all of the last 4 years. I didn’t know if we would be in that same range this year but January was just slightly higher than last year and it looks like the same will be true for February (I’m publishing this post on 3/4/12 and typically there are still sales being entered in the MLS up thru the 6th. At this time we are down 8 from last February but this will likely change in the next few days and go a little above last year. Check back because I will update this post with a new chart once the final sales are entered.  Chart has been updated on 3/6/12 and does reflect an increase over last February.)

Pinellas County Residential Real Estate Sale Chart

Information for this chart was taken from PRO/Suncoast MLS from Jan 2007 thru May 2011 and from the MFRMLS for May 2011 thru Feb 2012.

Tools to Help You

When you’re looking to buy a house, condo or townhouse here, there are many tools I have available for you to use in order to make it easier for you and I’d like to go over them with you here so that you can make the most use out of them.

On both Clearwater Homes Clearwater Condos (this site) and the Clearwater Beach Condos for Sale site there is one of the most advanced MLS search tools available today which you can use to do as broad or as narrow a search as you want and see large photos and extensive information on any house, condo or townhouse for sale in the Tampa Bay area.  Once you’ve registered you’ll not only be able to see all the typical information you’d see in a listing but you’ll also be able to see any price changes that have occurred on a specific property; the “Walk Score” for a property and whether there is shopping, restaurants, etc. within walking distance; similar properties for sale; recent sales; street view photos in some cases (like what you would see if you were standing in front of the property and looked all around you); and lots of other information that you’ll find useful.

You also will have the option to save one or more searches once you get the criteria set the way you want them and get emailed regularly if there are any new listings that meet your criteria.

On this site there are some searches already set up for you like one that shows all Foreclosure Listings in the best areas of Pinellas County and the weekly, handpicked Exceptional Deals I find.   There are also pages that provide information on most of the cities in this area and the houses and condos in those areas.

On the Clearwater Beach Condos for Sale site I have a list of all the Clearwater Beach condo and townhouse complexes in the 3 areas of Clearwater Beach and links to pages for a good number of those complexes where I go over what that complex has to offer plus the listings for every current or townhouse in that complex which is currently for sale.  In addition, I have also added a special form that you can fill out if you want me to set up a personalized search for you in the MLS so that you can receive regular listings (if you’d prefer to have me do this for you).

Finally, on this site there is also a Resources section where you can get the Buyers Guides I wrote to go through the different steps of the buying process as well as links to get information on Property Taxes, Flood Zones, which schools serve a specfic address in Pinellas County and a School Ratings site.

There’s also the Clearwater Beach Condos YouTube video that gives a simple explanation of the 3 different areas that make up the city of Clearwater Beach.

And I’m going to be testing a new tool on my Inkjet vs Laser site that will help someone make a decision by go through a series of questions and presenting the best choices for them – if it works well and I can work it out I’ll be working on a way to use that for making real estate buying decisions easier too.

I hope you find these useful and that with the information above you find one or more tool that you either didn’t know about before or hadn’t tried before that will help you.

Spring is coming so enjoy the improving weather wherever you are and I hope to see you here soon.