Home sales rebound in St. Pete, but Florida leads in short sales, properties underwater

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More homes sold in St. Petersburg than any other Pinellas County city in July.

But Florida overall tops the nation in the percentage of underwater homes and short sales, according to new statistics.

RealtyTrac, which monitors homes in foreclosure, reports that in August the Sunshine State was No. 2 in the nation with the percentage of homes “deeply underwater.” Florida tied with Illinois at 40 percent. Only Nevada, at 46 percent, was higher.

Florida also had the second highest percentage of short sales in July, at 30 percent. Only Nevada, at 35 percent, was higher.

In St. Petersburg, 6,537 properties were in foreclosure (default, auction or bank owned) last month. The number of homes listed for sale on RealtyTrac was 2,280.

Home sales were up 8.5 percent in July from a year ago in St. Petersburg, at 999 sales. The city recorded the highest number of home sales in Pinellas County for the month. That does not surprise local real estate brokers.

“This has been an incredible year for real estate. We are back.” said Amy Dinovo, strategic execution officer at Alva International on Beach Drive. “The last four listings we’ve had I’ve had a contract in less than week, with multiple offers.”

Overall, properties are moving fast, with the exception of short sales, she said.

Dinovo notes that the number of short sales on the market has a lot to do with the slow speed by which banks often respond to offers. She has one client who made an offer on a home on Feb. 14, with the bank yet to make a decision.

Across the nation, 10.7 million homeowners owe at least 25 percent more on their mortgages than their properties are worth, according to RealtyTrac.

But the agency reports that another 8.3 million homeowners are slightly underwater or above. The agency said that these homeowners have enough equity in their homes to sell sometime within the next 15 months.

Here are the states with the highest percentage of deeply underwater homes:

1.) Nevada 46 percent
2.) Illinois and Florida, both 40 percent
3.) Michigan, 38 percent
4.) Rhode Island, 34 percent
5.) Ohio, 31 percent