There's a reason it's often the privileged who are flitting off to beach homes along the sandy coast of California: It's really expensive to own a home near the ocean. (Location, location, location comes with a high price, after all.) So you think you'd be able to afford the same lifestyle if you bought a beachside foreclosure instead? Well, sure, it'd be cheaper -- but it'll still cost you double or more the national median home price.
Yes, foreclosures are often sold at deep discounts, but in the most expensive markets for foreclosures, the money you'd spend on a distressed property could probably buy two non-distressed properties in most other markets. Online foreclosure marketplace RealtyTrac highlighted the priciest and cheapest markets for foreclosures. According to RealtyTrac's Foreclosure Market Report, foreclosure-related sales accounted for 21 percent of all residential sales in 2012, a drop from 23 percent in 2011 and 28 percent in 2010. A tighter inventory nationwide has contributed to the decline, and a tighter inventory also drives prices up -- even for foreclosures.
"Location definitely matters in real estate, and many people want to live near the ocean, particularly the coast of California and Hawaii," said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist. "With fewer and fewer foreclosures available in these highly desirable areas, the average price of a foreclosure property is increasing rapidly, although still well below the average price of a non-distressed property given that foreclosures are often in poorer condition and are being sold by more motivated sellers."
So, then, where are the cheapest foreclosures? Go inland. "Population is still dwindling in many Rust Belt markets, which is why those markets dominate the list of least expensive foreclosures," Blomquist said. "Another reason for lower-priced foreclosures in these markets is the type of properties that are in foreclosure. Many foreclosures in these Rust Belt cities are much smaller in terms of square footage, and older in terms of year built, than the foreclosure inventory in the Western markets."
The median home sale price nationwide for all housing types in January was $173,600, according to the National Association of Realtors. The most expensive markets for foreclosures can see prices for distressed properties more than double that, while the cheapest markets can see prices of distressed properties more than half that. Click through the gallery below to see the 10 most expensive and 10 cheapest cities for foreclosures.
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