22 January 2010

Miami foreclosure auctions online, Broward follows / Fannie Mae approves condos for loans


On January 11, Miami-Dade county moved it’s foreclosure auctions from the courthouse steps to the web. The goal: to burrow through a pile of 115,000 foreclosure cases – with an additional 7,000 coming in each month.

The old method, favouring insiders, professional investors and schoolyard bullies, handled ca. 450 cases a week; the online auctions, allowing buyers worldwide to bid from the comfort of their velvet La-Z-Boy, is expected to process 2000 or more homes and commercial properties weekly. Impressive.

This is happening none too soon: The county is weighed down by the seventh-highest number of foreclosed homes in the US, and according to court clerks, more than 135,000 foreclosures could be filed in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties this year – compared to about 17,500 in 2006. No calculator handy? That’s plus 771 percent.

To participate in a Dade online auction, register for free at http://www.miamidade.realforeclose.com. Once you have completed this step, you can access thousands of foreclosed properties, view pictures, link to a property appraiser's report, take a street-level virtual tour of the neighborhood and check a profile on Zillow.com.

If interested in a property, bidders have to put down a refundable 5 percent deposit, which can be paid online (or in person – makes sense if you're bidding from, say, Mullumbimby, AU). After entering a maximum bid, they can let their computer take over and bid on their behalf, or monitor the auction and bid manually – quite similar to the eBay system.

With more than more than 2,500 registrants on the official launch date, Dade county officials must be delighted, as seem officials in other counties: Florida is the first state to adopt an online auction system for distressed properties, using the software already in nine counties. Three more will be added by March, Broward county being the next in line. – Hallelujah!


Though my blog or modernsouthflorida.com do not really deal with condos, here’s another tender morsel: Fannie Mae, recognizing Florida is ground zero for the condominium bust, has unveiled a “special approval” program listing established condominium projects around the state as "sufficiently stable" enough to merit Fannie Mae loans. Nice, eh?

51 condo projects in Miami-Dade (does everyone start there simply because it’s Mile Marker 0 of Interstate 95?) qualify so far – read: they are stable enough for lenders to originate mortgages that are turned over to Fannie Mae. Across the State, more are being added. 

Though most sellers are looking for cash buyers, and some sellers wouldn’t touch the paper an offer is written on if not accompanied by proof of equity, the list could breathe some life into the dismal condo situation in Dade. Inventory hovers at 16,162 resale condos per Jan 7 – that equals sixteen months inventory at the current absorption rate, not to mention new construction not listed in the MLS.

Now you wonder where to find that Fannie Mae list, don’t you? Well, please stay tuned for the April 1st post. 

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