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A state of flux.

We don't like to pick on Florida, and so we won't--especially in the dead of winter, when the state sounds extra-appealing. But when you look at how far real estate prices have come since the foreclosure crisis, the state offers a unique perspective.

Progress continues to be made in restoring home values across the country as foreclosures nationally continue to plummet. But Florida is still struggling with foreclosures. Distressed-home sales in the state continue to weigh down prices. Complicating matters even further is the fact that Florida is a judicial foreclosure sales in data collected for August 2014. (See our Marketrac[R] Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach; and West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach. The only non-Florida market to make the top five was Las Vegas.

Orlando topped all markets with the highest share of distressed sales at 23.79 percent as of August 2014. That was down from 25.71 percent in September 2013. The progress being made in terms of higher average sales prices as a result of fewer distressed properties is evident. In September 2013, the average price for a short sale in Orlando was $143,440. By August 2014, the average short-sale price rose to $170,139. The average price for a real estate-owned (REO) home in Orlando in September 2013 was $123,344. That climbed to $137,668 in August 2014.

Just for comparison, Las Vegas' numbers suggest it is making much quicker progress in working through its problems. Sin City's housing market topped the list with the highest share of distressed-home sales (28.49 percent) in data from September 2013. In this issue's Marketrac, Las Vegas has since dropped to the fourth spot with a distressed-sales share of 18.71 percent as of August 2014.

There is ample evidence that home prices have been steadily recovering in most markets around the country. One only need look at the hottest of the California markets to see that in some places new market highs are being set. Our Price Watch section this month shows that even a former foreclosure hot spot like Modesto, California, has seen its home prices rise over a three-year period by as much as 53.7 percent, as of June 30, 2014. Now that's a housing recovery.

All of this means that appraisers will need to be on their toes to find the right values for properties in many markets that are still in a state of flux. And as low-down-payment lending starts to really take off once again, values will become an even more critical determination.

In January ... We feature the 2015 economic forecast from the Mortgage Bankers Association, as well as the outlook for the residential/commercial/multifamily mortgage markets.

Janet Reilley Hewitt

Editor in Chief

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Title Annotation:FOCUS
Author:Hewitt, Janet Reilley
Publication:Mortgage Banking
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Dec 1, 2014
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