Foreclosure rates in Sarasota-Manatee county have stayed relatively constant in the last seven years, until now. Rates have officially dropped by 2%, starting  in October when foreclosure rates plunged by 1.91%. Previously, realtors saw a decrease by 12.23% in Sarasota-Manatee county in 2011, but for seven years following, the rates stayed the same.
    Those who have specialized in distressed properties will now be changing their course of action as the South Western region of Florida recovers from large foreclosure rates in the past. Stafford Starcher, 2015 president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota says, “Over the last three or four months, we have seen the decline to the point where they (real estate agents) have to redirect so they can maintain their business (…) foreclosures will always be there, but it’s just not what it was.”
     By November of 2015, sale numbers of distressed single-family homes of Sarasota-Manatee were cut by 55%, while the short sales and foreclosure rates of condominiums were down to 38%. In comparison, distressed sales are now accounting for less than 12% of all home transactions in Sarasota-Manatee counties. Whereas, in 2008, they were up at 50% during a foreclosure crisis.
    Charryl Youman, a Berkshire Hathaway HomeService Florida Reality agent, has a theory. Due to low foreclosure rates, fewer houses are on the market. However, lenders are usually the ones who control these foreclosed homes and are the hope for restoring the housing market. Youman believes that, “banks are no different than regular sellers in Florida. They feel the best time to market their homes is when the snowbirds are here.”
    Sherry Ellis is a bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney in Sarasota. She claims that foreclosure took a very big role in her business in the recent years. “I think property owners are more savvy than in years past. They are thinking ahead and researching ways they can keep their homestead and rental/vacation properties before a foreclosure ensues,” Ellis says. In October of 2015, bankruptcy number were decreased by 17.5% in the federal Middle District of Florida.
    For those who specialize in foreclosure, their practices have been challenged with these new low foreclosure rates. However, for those who focus on short sales and condos, their businesses could gain from these trends.
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