The Real Deal Miami

Florida foreclosures fall 54 percent, but consistent decline not till 2012

By Alexander Britell | February 10, 2011 03:26PM

The number of properties in Florida with foreclosure filings fell just under 54 percent year-over-year in January, according to data from RealtyTrac.

There were a total of 21,671 properties with some kind of foreclosure filing last month, or approximately one for every 409 housing units in the state. That number did fall by 15.4 percent from December 2010.

“For Florida, it looks like it’s gonna take longer to work through the foreclosure paperwork issue,” said Daren Blomquist, a spokesperson for RealtyTrac. “You just have a much higher volume of foreclosure cases and that really is just overwhelming the court system.”

While Florida’s number of properties with foreclosure filings was the second-highest in the country after California, the state saw a decrease in filings for the fourth straight month, and the January total was a 42-month low.

Blomquist said part of the decline could be attributed to the foreclosure attorney investigations, meaning a relative dearth of attorneys able to handle these kinds of cases.

“[The attorney problem] has created a vacuum of foreclosure attorneys who are capable and qualified to deal with the foreclosure cases.”

Nationally, a total of 261,333 properties had foreclosure filings last month, a 17.2 percent decrease from January of last year, and a rate of around one such property for every 497 housing units.

There were no Florida cities among the top 20 metro foreclosure rates last month, compared to nine cities on that list for 2010.

“Sometime in 2011, we expect to see that return to those elevated foreclosure levels that we saw last year, and in Florida we don’t think we’ve probably quite reached the peak,” Blomquist said. “It’s probably going to be 2012 before we see the foreclosure activity start to decline consistently [in Florida].”

Sarabeth Sanders contributed reporting from New York.