A nationwide surge of foreclosures has become "a driving force" in the otherwise sluggish real estate market, according to Foreclosure.com, an online foreclosure listing service based in Boca Raton, Fla.The company said its 2006 Mid-Year Market Analysis indicates that foreclosure properties are changing hands nearly twice as fast as existing homes. New U.S. foreclosures totaled 23,982 in January and 26,802 in June, but the active foreclosure inventory fell from 95,073 in January to 89,352 in June, Foreclosure.com reported. Thus, despite higher new-foreclosure rates, inventory has been kept in check by high demand for foreclosed homes, the company said. "Everything we are seeing in the current climate in the real estate industry is driven by rising interest rates and a sluggish housing market," said Brad Geisen, president and chief executive officer of Foreclosure.com. "This has fueled interest in the foreclosure market, creating a golden opportunity for investors and people looking for good deals on homes." The company can be found online at http://www.foreclosure.com.

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