South Florida ranks fifth for foreclosures at end of 2015

A June 2011 photo of the downtown Miami skyline (Credit: Marc Averette) and a foreclosure sign
A June 2011 photo of the downtown Miami skyline (Credit: Marc Averette) and a foreclosure sign

South Florida was still the country’s fifth biggest foreclosure hot spot by the end of 2015, even though the region has seen a large decrease in filings for more than a year.

The owners of one out of every 51 houses in South Florida filed for foreclosure during 2015, according to a new report from analytics company RealtyTrac. That breaks down to a total of 48,830 properties, or just less than 2 percent of all the homes in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

The region suffered a huge wave of housing foreclosure during the real estate crisis several years ago, and at its worst in 2009, had 172,894 homes in some stage of foreclosure.

Those filings have since dipped dramatically, but South Florida still remains one of the country’s biggest offenders. Only four metropolitan areas posted higher foreclosure rates during 2015: Atlantic City, New Jersey with 3.43 percent, Trenton, New Jersey with 2.14 percent, Tampa with 2.03 percent and Jacksonville with 2.02 percent.

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“South Florida real estate has seen a strong turnaround from our … bottom,” Mike Pappas, CEO and president of Keyes Company, wrote in the report. “Many properties have surpassed the peak valuation of 2005. Due to our judicial system we still have a remnant of foreclosures and short sales working through the system.”

Florida as a whole had 159,773 foreclosure filings during 2015, which equates to about 1.77 percent of its houses.

The national rate fared much better during 2015: 0.82 percent of U.S. homes had foreclosure filings at the end of last year, or one in every 122 houses. — Sean Stewart-Muniz