South Florida foreclosures fall 60 percent in first half of year: report

Jul.July 27, 2011 09:01 PM

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metropolitan area saw a 60.1 percent drop in the number of properties with foreclosure filings from the same period in 2010, according to RealtyTrac data released today.

A total of 37,627 properties in South Florida had foreclosure filings in the first six months of this year.

South Florida’s foreclosure rate fell from the 10th-highest in the country to the 30th, with the dramatic fall coming in large part from the foreclosure document scandal that occurred in the fall, the firm said.

“We’re seeing this big drop-off in the Florida numbers, more so than probably any other state,” said Daren Blomquist, spokesperson for RealtyTrac. “Our interpretation of that is that the market is not all of a sudden in the throws of a recovery, so much as we’re just seeing the foreclosure process delayed quite a bit by the fallout from the robo-signing problems.”

In the first half of 2010, nine of the top 20 foreclosure rates were seen in cities in Florida — that number has dropped to just one area, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, where there were 8,699 properties with filings, or one of every 42 housing units.

One trend that began to emerge in June was a slight uptick in the foreclosure filing numbers, Blomquist said, meaning the glut of foreclosures could be starting to move through the process again.

“In Florida overall, there was a 24 percent month-over-month increase in foreclosure activity from May to June, and that’s another sign that the numbers are kind of starting to come back,” he said.

Miami-Dade County, in particular, had an 11 percent increase in foreclosure filings in June compared to the previous month. Palm Beach County saw a 26 percent increase, and Broward County’s foreclosure filings rose 6 percent.

“The way I picture it is like a dam holding back some of these delayed foreclosures,” he said. “We’re starting to see evidence, when you drill down to local [Florida] areas, that some of those dammed-up foreclosures are starting to spill over, and we expect that to continue in the second half of 2011.”

One impediment to an increased filing flow is the unusually long period of time foreclosures take to process in Florida, Blomquist said. In the second quarter of 2011, for example, properties that were foreclosed upon in Florida took an average of 676 days to move through the system. In the second quarter of 2007, that number was just 195 days.

Nationwide, there were 1.17 million properties with foreclosure filings, a 29.2 percent drop from the first half of 2010.

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