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SC back on national foreclosure list

— RealtyTrac has released its October foreclosure auction and bank-owned property sales report and South Carolina is back on one of its lists.

The state spent much time in the last year as one of the top states for foreclosures on the list by RealtyTrac, which follows foreclosures nationwide. But it hasn’t been near the top for the last several months.

In the October report, though, South Carolina ranked fourth nationally with the number of cash sales at 53.9 percent, which is above the national average of 44.2 percent.

Cash sales could be an indicator of action on foreclosure and bank-owned properties. Being among the highest in the nation, though, isn’t nearly as bad as being among the top states in the number of foreclosures.

The sales indicate that the inventory of foreclosures and distressed properties is being lowered statewide, which will eventually lead to a market where conventional home sales will become more dominant, which will drive prices up.

RealtyTrac’s report said that purchases of foreclosed properties has moved more to the courthouse steps than in the past, where the properties are bought at auction. Columbia, with 8.1 percent of its total sales at auction, ranked third highest, according to the report, although that too isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Along the Grand Strand, distressed homes have dropped to an estimated 17 percent of the market, versus 20 percent or more last year, according to Todd Woodard, president of SiteTech Systems, which tracks the area’s real estate market.

SiteTech’s report for October showed that the Strand market holds a couple of edges over the national market, though.

The median price locally in October was $179,000, up 6.5 percent from the 2012 average. Nationally, RealtyTrac reported the national median sales price in October was $170,000, a 6 percent increase from a year earlier.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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