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Real estate agents and brokers reacted with the word, “Wow” Tuesday morning when shown that nearly two-thirds of condominiums sold last month in Sonoma County were foreclosure sales or short sales.
The sales data presented at the Santa Rosa breakfast meeting of the North Bay Association of Realtors for the first time included data on “bank influenced” sales.
That category included “real estate owned,” or REO, properties, which the banks have taken back through foreclosures. Also included are short sales, where the owner needs lender approval to sell the home for less than is owed on the mortgage.
In January 2009, when the housing market here was closing in on a new low, 88 percent of condo sales were REO or short sales, according to the latest presentation by Rick Laws of Coldwell Banker in Santa Rosa. Last month that number was down but still amounted to an eye-catching 65 percent.
More of the conventional condo sellers may have come back to the market because they believe there is both more price stability but also not a lot of hope for quick price appreciation after the beating condo owners took in the last few years. Laws suggested the sellers are stepping forward after “making up their minds that the landscape’s not going to change.”
Here are the numbers on “bank influenced” sales for various segments of the county’s single-family market for last month and for February 2009, when the median price for such homes hit a new low of $305,000.
* For homes selling under $500,000: nearly 59 percent were bank influenced sales last month compared to 82 percent for February 2009.
* For sales between $500,000 and $1 million: 29 percent compared to nearly 42 percent.
* For sales between $1 million and $10 million: nearly 17 percent compared to 0 percent.
– Robert Digitale
Please follow me on Twitter @rdigit

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