Thursday, 8 September 2011


Luxurious real estate doesn’t look — or cost — what it used to. “There are $4 million estates in Lutz and the Riverview area that are now less than $1 million,” said Keller Williams real estate agent Rande Friedman. “There’s a condo in Channelside that was $1.5 million, and now it’s $700,000.” Most homeowners have seen values drop, but these prices are so low because the homes are owned by a bank. And the bank wants to get rid of them. There are so many foreclosed luxury homes that Friedman created a website to list them. In three weeks, already has about 400 local listings. The Tampa Bay area and Florida are among the hardest-hit by foreclosures in the country. Friedman has a theory on why the foreclosure crisis finally caught up to the rich. “A lot of the people who got into the luxury market in 2005, 2006 were making their money from real estate,” he said. When the market crashed, so did their incomes. Plus, just like the rest of the population, many luxury buyers took out adjustable-rate mortgages. Many of them have come due recently. That, combined with job loss and sinking home prices, led to an uptick in foreclosures of luxury homes. That means hundreds of high-end homes sit abandoned. But that could be good news for those ready to buy. Homes and condos along the beaches and downtown condos are among the most-popular luxury foreclosures, Friedman said. Potential buyers of luxury foreclosures also don’t have to worry about trashed homes as much as buyers of lower-end houses. That’s because banks usually take better care of them, Friedman said. “People are still living in them, maintaining them, so they’re not the deserted, desolate foreclosure feeling,” Friedman said. “They really are truly nice properties.” That’s true, said Daren Blomquist, spokesman for RealtyTrac, which tracks foreclosure activity nationwide. “It’s in the bank’s best interest to fix up the home and get in the best shape possible before trying to sell it,” Blomquist said. “That way, they may get a better price.”



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