The Real Deal Miami

Home foreclosures up in Florida, style=”colo

By Sarabeth Sanders | July 15, 2010 12:00AM

Foreclosure activity continued to climb on a year-over-year basis in Florida during the first half of 2010 as one in every 32 housing units was hit with a foreclosure notice, but the rate of increase slowed considerably, according to the latest foreclosure market report from RealtyTrac.

Home foreclosure activity in the state — defined as default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — was up 3.36 percent in the first six months of the year from the same period in 2009, the RealtyTrac data shows. By comparison, at the same time last year, Florida foreclosure filings had risen by 42 percent over the first half of 2008.

Still, Florida’s 277,073 foreclosure filing count during the most recent six-month period was the second-highest state total in the nation behind California, which saw 340,740 filings.

And bank repossessions in particular were way up during the second quarter, registering a 75 percent year-over-year statewide spike that may indicate that lenders are catching up on their foreclosure backlogs, said Daren Blomquist, a spokesperson for RealtyTrac.

“We’ve seen the pace slow down, but [foreclosure activity] is still at a very high level,” Blomquist said. Florida is “not really experiencing a downward trend in foreclosure activity. It’s more plateaued,” he said.

The data depicted a similar picture in each of South Florida’s three counties, where home foreclosure rates were well above the national average of 1.28 percent across the board.

In Broward, 4.71 percent of all homes, or 37,988 units, were hit with a foreclosure filing during the first half of the year, giving the county the third-highest foreclosure rate in the state. Though that represents a 9.6 percent decline in foreclosure filings from the second half of 2009, it is also a 3.64 percent increase from the year’s first half.

Miami-Dade, ranked sixth in the state with a 3.92 percent foreclosure rate, had 38,395 foreclosure filings during the first six months of the year, down 10.37 percent from the previous six months, but up 11.48 percent year-over-year.

And in Palm Beach, 2.82 percent of housing units were hit with foreclosure notices, giving the county a 16th-place ranking in Florida. The 18,083 actions in the county during the first six months of the year represented a 0.26 percent decrease from the second half of last year, but a 26.43 percent jump from the first half of 2009.

“What started out as maybe a more contained issue, where it was properties in highly speculative markets that used exotic loans, has been compounded with the overall economic problems that the country has been experiencing,” Blomquist said.

Foreclosure prevention efforts have also been prolonging the issue, he said. While government interventions have helped to “manage the foreclosure problem,” he explained, “the downside is that…you’re kind of going to see a stagnant housing market for a longer period of time without a real recovery happening.”