Real Estate Sites Drawing Traffic Due To Foreclosures
Real estate Web sites are featuring a growing number of homes that are in pre-foreclosure and foreclosure.
In March, Yahoo Real Estate launched a site focused on foreclosures with Realty Trac broadening the reach of information to nearly 500 million global users. "The goal for you as a buyer is to purchase a property at least 20 percent below full market value, although better deals are often possible," reads Yahoo’s site.
More regular homebuyers are using these sites to find deals and the U.S. foreclosure rate increased about 80 percent by the end of 2007 compared to a year earlier. "It is what it is. I’m not going to sit here and tell you otherwise," said Bill Staniford, partner at PropertyShark.
"This is a debacle going down from the top of government to the mortgage brokers. There’s lots of blame to go round, but the more people in this industry there are, the better off the homeowner."
Traffic to Realty Trac has increased threefold to around 3 million unique visitors per month from 1 million two years ago. It projects that 40 percent of visits are from first time homebuyers instead of investors or brokers.
Yahoo Real Estate had a fivefold increase in traffic since it added foreclosure listings last year.
Realty Trac has had more interest in its site from overseas investors due to the falling U.S. dollar. The company plans to introduce its subscription U.S. listings service to overseas markets in 2008, and could provide foreclosure information from markets outside the U.S.
Foreclosure.com had more than 362,000 pre-foreclosure listings this week, 39,000 were sheriff sales and 281,000 bankruptcies. ForeclosureUniversity.com brings together news articles on the topic and other sites provide information on home auctions by state.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has advice on how to avoid foreclosure if you are unable to make mortgage payments. Their advice is not to ignore your lender.
"This is not something we recommend people get into without educating themselves," Steve Schultz, director of product management at Yahoo Real Estate, told Reuters.