Florida foreclosures showed their first increase in activity in 14 months, last month, according to a report from RealtyTrac.
The state showed a 14 percent increase in January compared to January 2011, with South Florida seeing a 21 percent spike in foreclosures.
The activity lag had been caused by the foreclosure document crisis in the fall of 2010 that halted processing on foreclosures across the country.
“That was definitely a big milestone, in our minds at least, and it’s something we’ve been expecting and saying was going to happen, but it did happen,” said RealtyTrac spokesperson Daren Blomquist. “The delinquent loans that were held back by paperwork issues and documentation issues are now being thrown into the foreclosure process.”
Blomquist said the 2011 numbers were “artificially low,” and that Florida would now continue to see an increase in foreclosure activity.
Accordingly, there was a 36 percent increase statewide in lis pendens filings, the first step in the foreclosure process.
“That indicates that many of these delayed foreclosures are just starting the foreclosure process, and that foreshadows, probably later in 2012, that many of those properties will end up being foreclosed,” he said.
There were a total of 8,491 properties with foreclosure filings last month in South Florida compared to 7010 in 2011.
Miami-Dade County led the region with 3,737 properties with foreclosure filings in January, a 52 percent increase year-over-year.
While 2012 will herald an increase in activity, the levels of foreclosures will likely not approach the numbers Florida saw in 2010, Blomquist said.
“We’re going to be coming off these artificial lows of 2011, but we’re not getting back to the astronomically high numbers of 2010,” he said.