Media sources are hoping to get the jump on the foreclosure tsunami:,0,5145254.story

Sales of foreclosed houses soared last year as investors and first-time home buyers swarmed over what were considered bargain houses. This year it’s been unusually quiet, says Jerry Abbott, a broker and co-owner of Grupe Real Estate in Stockton. That doesn’t make sense, he said, because he sees many houses in foreclosure in the city.

But just recently, said the 37-year real estate veteran, there’s been a surge of requests for so-called broker price opinions, or appraisals that lenders often ask brokers to provide just before they put a foreclosed property on the market.

“I think it’s going to be a very big wave,” he said. “Just like what we saw through 2008.”

The effect on prices won’t be as severe, Abbott said, because values already have plunged and there’s hearty demand for such properties.

Still, he said, “It will keep prices low. . . . It’ll just slow the recovery down in general.”

Michael Chee, 43, of Burbank is among those worried about what a rise in foreclosures could mean for his home.

Chee was laid off from a healthcare consulting firm in March. With jobless benefits, he figures he will be able to hold on until he finds a new job. His three-bedroom house, though down 20% to 30% in value, isn’t underwater — for the present.

“We’re OK right now,” he said, noting that his brother’s home in Montebello is in foreclosure. “But going forward, who knows? The way things are going. . . .”

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Jim the Realtor
Jim is a long-time local realtor who comments daily here on his blog, which began in September, 2005. Stick around!

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