I am happy to report that Foreclosures.com – a web site devoted to tracking foreclosures nationally– is predicting a housing recovery in 2009, with buyers leaping into the market to take advantage of low mortgage rates and wholesale prices. These two factors, according to this outfit’s predictions, will drive a record entry of first time home buyers and investors who will once again be able to rent homes out for positive cash low and take profits when price appreciation kicks in. I like what I read, and I like what I see, especially in Manatee County.

Manatee County, you see, is not a top-ten county when it comes to foreclosures. At a foreclosure rate of 7.5 percent, it is behind Sarasota at 8.33 and way behind the number one county for foreclosures—Osceola—where the level has reached 23.33%, meaning that of every house on the market, practically one in four is a foreclosure!

Why is this so important? Because it shows less speculation took place in our market, with investors buying for the right reason: value and stability. I’ll certainly advise my clients this year that an investment in the Bradenton area is much sounder than in Kissimmee or in Ft. Myers in Lee County, where the foreclosure rate is 21.5%. And now that I’m also watching banks become much more willing to work with sellers on short sales, or pre-foreclosures, I am certain that our recovery will come sooner than many of our neighboring counties to the east and north. I am definitely seeing the light.

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