Florida leads U.S. with most foreclosures in 2014

Foreclosure sign
Florida had the highest foreclosure rate in 2014

Florida had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate in 2014, according to Realty Trac’s just-released year-end 2014 U.S. foreclosure market report.

In Florida, 2.3 percent of all housing units had a foreclosure filing last year, RealtyTrac’s data shows. Other top states were New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois and Nevada.

Among major cities, Miami came in second for foreclosures in 2014, at 2.79 percent of housing units. Only Atlantic City surpassed Miami, with 3.06 percent. Three other Florida metropolitan areas followed: Orlando, Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville  and Tampa.

The Sunshine State also ranked among the states with the longest average time to foreclose in the fourth quarter. Florida came in third at 946 days, following Hawaii and New Jersey at more than 1,000 days.

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Florida has led the nation with the highest foreclosure rate since 2012. Nevada had the distinction in 2011, RealtyTrac said.

“South Florida is in the fourth quarter of our foreclosure cleanup. Since 2007, we have seen 27 percent of our housing units hit with a foreclosure notice, peaking in 2009 and 2010. Due to the lengthy judicial foreclosure system in the state and the severity of the crisis the tail of this market has been elongated,” said Mike Pappas, CEO and president of the Keyes Company, in a statement. “It is encouraging to look in the rear view mirror and see us at the other side of the bell curve with foreclosure notices in 2014 nearing 2007 levels. Hopefully, we can put the last nail in this foreclosure coffin and end 2015 at pre-recession numbers.”

Nationwide,  foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 1.1 milion U.S. properties in 2014, down 18 percent from 2013, and down 61 percent from the peak of 2.9 million properties with foreclosure filings in 2010.