For the seventh consecutive month, foreclosure activity in the U.S. was dominated by a tiny subset of states.
As reported by RealtyTrac.com, more than half of September's foreclosure-related activity occurred in just 4 states:
These states represent just 22.05 percent of the total U.S. population.
Overall, foreclosures are up 29 percent from September 2008 and, while, the data seems negative, defaults are creating some interesting buying opportunities.
Foreclosed homes often sell at a discount as compared to non-foreclosed homes. Cheap prices, low mortgage rates and willing buyers have helped to spur home sales in many U.S. markets. In August, "distressed homes" accounted for one-third of all existing home sales.
That said, buying foreclosures isn't for everyone.
First off, foreclosed homes are often sold "as-is" and may be in perfect condition, or may be inhabitable. If the property falls into the latter category, it's important to get estimates for the work needed to make the home livable. Suddenly, the home may not seem like such a "steal".
And, secondly, buying a home in foreclosure can be a 3-month process or more. For some people, this is just too long.
Buying a home in foreclosure is fundamentally the same as buying a "regular" home -- there's a contract and a closing. But most of the steps in between are different.
Read the complete foreclosure report, plus take a peek at foreclosure heat maps on the RealtyTrac website. If you like what you see, talk to your real estate agent about what to do next.