Indianapolis, IN – Tucson, AZ – Atlanta, GA – Denver, CO

7. Indianapolis, Indiana This Midwest town has good overall numbers but lacks any distinguishing statistics. Its population growth rate of 0.95 percent in the last six years is …

7. Indianapolis, Indiana

This Midwest town has good overall numbers but lacks any distinguishing statistics. Its population growth rate of 0.95 percent in the last six years is the second lowest among the cities selected. Indianapolis’ job growth during the last six years, at 5.54 percent, ranks fifth among the cities.

Likewise, the Indianapolis metro’s 2.4 percent increase in median home price during the last year fell precisely into the middle of the field. Additionally, the city’s median household income of $41,520 is sixth highest and the city’s median house value of $122,800 is the third least expensive among cities chosen. Indianapolis’ percentage of homes in foreclosure is 1.61 percent.

For an investor looking for a long-term foreclosure investment in an area that has middle of the road growth and home prices, Indianapolis could work well. However, Indiana’s foreclosure laws are slightly less favorable to investors than some of the other cities on our list. Only judicial foreclosures are used in Indiana, and the foreclosure process takes 261 days, which is potentially good news for short sale investors. A big downside for investors who buy at auction, however, is that they have 120 days to redeem their property.

8. Tucson, Arizona

This Sunbelt city has a lot going for it: Job growth is outpacing population growth and monthly owner costs are low. Jobs grew 9.46 percent between 2000 and 2006, while the population grew 6.04 percent during the same time period. Its monthly owner costs of $320 are the lowest among the selected cities and fifth lowest among the 99 cities studied.

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Tucson’s median home value of $175,500 is the third highest among selected cities. Unfortunately, Tucson also had the lowest median household income among the top 10 cities, at $36,095. Additionally, the percentage change in the metro area’s median home value has gone up only 1.1 percent.

Finally, at 0.82 percent, greater Tucson has the lowest percentage of foreclosed homes on the market. Judicial and non-judicial foreclosures are available in Arizona, though judicial foreclosures are not common. The process can take more than 90 days and owners have 30 to 180 days to redeem the property.  The longer timeframe is for judicial foreclosures.

9. Atlanta, Georgia

This southeastern metro also has some good signs for foreclosure investors. Atlanta’s population grew 6.34 percent in the last six years and surrounding counties also saw sustained growth. Meanwhile, Atlanta has seen jobs rise 4.74 percent between 2000 and 2006. The percentage of foreclosed homes in the metro Atlanta area is 1.85 percent.

Atlanta has the second highest median home value among the cities on the list, at $233,900. It also has the highest homeowner costs, at a median figure of $564 per month. Of the cities chosen, Atlanta’s homeowner and rental vacancy rates are highest, at 7.1 percent and 15.7 percent, respectively. Investors looking into foreclosures with an eye towards rental properties may want to investigate Atlanta because, in the midst of the housing bubble bursting and property values falling across the country, Atlanta’s housing values have held comparatively strong. From the second quarter of 2006 through the second quarter of 2007, the median home price in the Atlanta metro area rose 0.9 percent.

Georgia’s foreclosure laws allow for judicial and non-judicial foreclosure, though judicial foreclosures are not common. The foreclosure process takes 37 days and there is no right of redemption in Georgia.

While costs and vacancies in Atlanta are on the higher end of the cities selected, job and population growth for the area look good. Investors may want to consider foreclosed property in the collar counties, where the young worker population seems to be moving. (For more information on the young worker population, see Sun Belt Luring Young Workers.)

10. Denver, Colorado

With steady job growth, a population growing slowly but surely and a foreclosure rate among the highest in the country, Denver has a lot of opportunities for investors. The median home price in the Denver-Aurora MSA remained unchanged from the second quarter of 2006 to the second quarter of 2007. Meanwhile, in the last six years, Denver’s population grew 2.2 percent and jobs grew 0.29 percent.

In 2006 the alpine city had a low 3.4 percent homeowner vacancy rate and, at 8.3 percent, one of the lowest rental vacancy rates among the cities chosen. The $724 per month rental rate is attractive to renters.

Denver has the highest median home value of the top 10 cities at $236,100, but the third lowest median household income, at $40,900. The Denver-Aurora MSA’s foreclosure rate from January to June 2007 was the highest among the chosen cities, at 2.38 percent.

Colorado’s foreclosure laws allow for judicial and non-judicial foreclosure, though non-judicial foreclosures are more common. The process takes 91 days and the redemption period is 75 days. In January 2008, with HB-06-1387, Colorado’s foreclosure laws will change, eliminating the right of redemption but giving owners a longer period of time to pay off the default and other fees.

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