Miami-Dade foreclosure activity leaps 77 percent

Foreclosure activity in Miami-Dade jumped 77 percent in April compared to the same period in 2011, according to data from RealtyTrac. On the whole, South Florida foreclosure activity rose 38 percent in April, the fifth consecutive month of double-digit increases after 13 straight months of decreases.

“It’s a little bit of a roller coaster pattern we’ve seen over the last year,” said Daren Blomquist, a spokesperson for RealtyTrac.

The Miami metropolitan area had the second-highest rate of foreclosure in the country in April, with one out of every 273 housing units in foreclosure.

Only the Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. metro area had a higher rate.

The jump in foreclosures — which follows a 37-percent year-over-year jump in Miami-Dade foreclosures in the first quarter — could put a dent into Miami’s continuously climbing residential sales prices.

According to RealtyTrac, there were a total of 9,944 properties with foreclosure filings in the tri-county area in April, led by Miami-Dade with 4,817, compared to 2,715 last April.

Palm Beach County saw a 35.8 percent year-on-year increase, while Broward’s foreclosures actually dropped 10.54 percent in the same period.

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Due to the foreclosure document scandal in late 2010, Banks all over the country halted their processing activity, causing a long hiatus from which they have only recently begun to emerge.

South Florida’s 13 months of decreased activity were deceptively low as a result, Blomquist said, and it’s likely that the high number of foreclosure filings will continue, especially since the area’s the biggest increases last month were in new default notices, or properties starting the foreclosure process.

New default notices rose 48 percent to 4,242 from 2,871 last year, while the number of REOs, or completed foreclosures, rose 14 percent.

“That indicates to me that we’re still kind of closer to the beginning of this wave of foreclosures,” Blomquist said. “Down the road, I think we are going to see more of those REOs happening.”

Nationally, foreclosure activity fell 14 percent, a reduction due in part to improved processing speeds in hard-hit states such as California, Arizona and Nevada.

Blomquist said banks’ increasing shift toward short sales is also a factor.

“I do think the short sales are a wild card in [Florida], and could siphon off some of those properties that are starting the foreclosure process,” Blomquist told The Real Deal.