South Florida foreclosures see biggest increase in nearly two years

Mar.March 15, 2012 05:15 PM

The number of South Florida properties with foreclosure filings jumped by 52.7 percent in February, the largest year-over-year increase of any month since April 2010, according to data released today by RealtyTrac.

There were 4,120 properties Miami-Dade County with foreclosure filings last month, an 82 percent increase compared to February 2011. That was the highest total in the tri-county area.

“It seems like foreclosures really spilled over the floodgates in February in South Florida,” said Daren Blomquist, a spokesperson for RealtyTrac.

February was the third straight month with an increase in foreclosure activity, Blomquist said, following a long lull due to the foreclosure document crisis in the fall of 2010.

The last few months’ increase had been marked by initial default notices in South Florida, he said, but February marked a big jump in the later stages of foreclosure as well.

“We expected Florida to see some pretty significant increases from a year ago, because there was a corresponding drop in foreclosures a year ago there, bigger than in other parts of the country,” he said. “So we’re seeing a corresponding bounce-back from the artificially low level.”

There were a total of 3,563 properties with foreclosure filings in Broward County last month, along with 1,650 such properties in Palm Beach County. Those were increases of 53 percent and 8 percent, respectively, compared to February 2011.

There was also a dramatic spike in real-estate owned, or REO, activity, representing the number of completed foreclosures, which jumped 121 percent in Miami alone, the biggest increase of any stage of the process, Blomquist said.

Blomquist cautioned that, while foreclosures will likely continue to increase, the numbers will not reach the highs of late 2009 and 2010, which saw a peak of 24,450 properties with foreclosure filings in the month of April 2009.

“Even though we’re seeing these increases from a year ago,” he said, “we’re still well below that peak. And I don’t think we’re going to make it back to that. But 2012 is going to be higher than the artificially low 2011 numbers.”

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