Customers must use lenders' title companies at higher cost.
In a way, the real estate market is burning as hot as it was three years ago.
Five hundred and forty-four homes were sold last month, according to figures by real estate analyst DataQuick. In March 2005, 589 homes were sold, the beginning of that autumn's crest.
Today's market, nonetheless, is dramatically different. Homes sold are almost always foreclosures. The median price has fallen to $105,000, almost a fourth of what it was during the market's peak.