IMPACT 5: Foreclosures and home sales up halfway through 2012

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Mixed news for homeowners six months into 2012.

"We still think at least through 2013 we're still going to see a lot of foreclosures," Sharon Bock, Palm Beach County Clerk, said.

"2012 has been a benchmark year for us, kind of a comeback year in real estate," Michael Brue, Keller Williams broker and general manager, said.

People are buying homes, but foreclosures are still hitting families hard.

"Foreclosures are still a part of people's lives in Palm Beach County," Bock said.

Year-over-year foreclosures are up 34 percent in Palm Beach County. 7,810 so far this year. 5,156 in the first six months of last year. Thousands more are looming.

"We have about 40,000 people who are going to get foreclosed on -- another 1,200 are coming in and 1,200 going out every month," Bock said.

People are buying though. Inventory is down 40-percent compared to this time last year.

Brue says it's dropped to less than a 6-month supply.

"Which actually flips our market from a buyer's market to a seller's market," Brue said.

The REALTORS Association of the Palm Beaches shows closed home sales are up 8.5-percent year-over-year in May, the latest data available.

"It may be for the first time in history, the best time, to sell your house and the best time to buy a house.  And the reason is because the seller is going to net top-dollar in today's real estate market, at today's pricing, and the buyers are going to get a lower monthly payment than they could have afforded before," Brue said.

Mark Bush, a business professor at Northwood University, says we're recovering at about the same pace as the rest of the country.

"Housing prices have stabilized and so people are more willing to go into the market, they don't feel like it's going to be worth less than what they paid for it," Bush said.

Good news for them. Clerk Bock says 40-percent of homeowners still paying their mortgage are underwater.

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