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South Florida foreclosures fall again, but trending upwards

The Sunshine State’s market isn’t really improving, but the banks are
By Alexander Britell | October 12, 2011 10:53PM

Foreclosure filings in South Florida fell in the third quarter by 62 percent compared to the same period in 2010, but signs point to an increase as banks finally begin to drive through foreclosures halted by the fall’s robo-signing scandal, according to a report by RealtyTrac.

While the third quarter represented another drastic drop on an annual basis, foreclosure filings actually increased compared to the second quarter of 2011 by almost 13 percent.

“The quarterly numbers show that over a three-month period, [filings] are increasing, and that’s not what we were seeing in previous quarters,” said RealtyTrac spokesperson Daren Blomquist.

Blomquist said that after the robo-signing crisis, in which the integrity of thousands of foreclosure files were called into question and banks froze their foreclosure processes, the state of Florida as a whole saw two straight quarters of dramatic decreases in activity.

“Now, in the third quarter, we’re seeing a 15 percent increase from the previous quarter [in Florida], so the trend has kind of turned,” he said. “Even though foreclosure numbers are still much lower than they were a year ago, we’re coming back out of that, and trending back upwards now — we’re seeing the trend reverse.”

Broward County, which saw a 62 percent drop from the third quarter of 2010, saw a dramatic 37 percent increase in foreclosure filings compared to the second quarter of this year. Miami-Dade County filings rose 13.1 percent, and Palm Beach County saw a 10 percent increase.

Compared to September 2010, South Florida foreclosure filings fell by 86 percent last month, along with a month-to-month drop of around 4 percent; the latter represented a far slower rate of decline than had been the case, however.

“The benefit of looking at the quarterly numbers is that it evens the trend out a little bit,” Blomquist said. “[It’s] evidence that this is exactly what we’ve been saying — that the market isn’t really improving [in Florida], but it’s the result of processing delays, and the banks are starting to adjust and ramp back up the speed of the processing.”