Decline in South Florida homes for sale giving sellers an edge

South Florida home sellers are enjoying more power than they’ve had in several years: There are fewer houses for sale and buyers are hungrier.

“I was surprised — nicely surprised,” said Renata Wozniak, who had four decent offers within a week of putting her four-bedroom home in Deerfield Beach on the market this spring. “I thought it would maybe take a month or two.”

Particularly hot are homes not in some stage of foreclosure. Those tend to sell within a few days, at or near the asking price, real estate agents say.

But even homes that are in the foreclosure process are selling fast because there are relatively few of them, agents say.

Foreclosure homes have flooded the market since 2007, but buyers are gradually exhausting the stock. Lenders so far have been slow to release new properties for sale, although some analysts fear a looming reversal if foreclosures pick up momentum again.

. . .

“We don’t know how much is out there,” said Ken H. Johnson, a finance professor at Florida International University. “But regardless of its size, as long as the perception is there, it will slow down the buying process.”

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