Florida leads states in foreclosures

mbrannigan@miamiherald.comApril 12, 2013 

Florida is the nation's foreclosure state, and Miami is the foreclosure capital.

The greater Miami area posted the highest foreclosure activity of any large city in the nation in the first quarter, with one in every 79 residences receiving some type of foreclosure filing, RealtyTrac said.

Miami's foreclosure activity was more than three times the national average.

Florida continued to rank No. 1 among the 50 states in the first quarter, with more of its homes getting foreclosure filings than in any other state, according to the Irvine, Calif.-based real-estate data firm.

Six other Florida metro areas also ranked in the top 10 in the nation in foreclosure activity in the first quarter. They are: Orlando (No. 2, with one in 86 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing); Ocala (No. 3, with one in 92); Tampa (No. 5 with one in 100); Jacksonville (No. 7, one in 105); Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville (No. 8 with one in 109); and Lakeland (No. 10, one in 128).

During the first quarter, 85,671 Florida residences got some sort of foreclosure filing. That was one in every 104 residences -- a rate nearly three times as high as the national average of one in every 296 residences, RealtyTrac said.

Foreclosure activity in Florida increased 7 percent in the first quarter from the prior period and jumped 17 percent from the year-earlier quarter, the firm said.

The increase reflects a step-up in activity by lenders who had held off on pressing foreclosures during the "robo-signing'' scandal that spotlighted an array of improprieties in the way lenders handled cases. Since last year's major legal settlement between 49 state attorneys general and five big banks, lenders have clearer parameters on how to handle foreclosures and have been working through their backlogs.

Worries that a mountain of foreclosures in Miami would flood the market and derail the housing recovery have proven unfounded so far. Amid a shortage of homes and condominiums for sale and a growing crowd of eager buyers, distressed properties are getting snapped up quickly. Housing prices in the area are posting steady gains.

Doug DeWitt, a broker at Concierge Real Estate Services in Miami Beach, which helps several banks to value and sell homes that the banks have taken in foreclosure actions, said: "It's flying off the shelves. If there is shadow inventory, it's not bogging down the system.''

On Tuesday, Concierge listed a bank-owned house at 19845 NW 53rd Place in northwest Miami-Dade on the Multiple Listings Service and by Wednesday, it had received 16 offers, DeWitt said. The three-bedroom, two-bath home measuring 1,253 square feet in the Lakes of Acadia subdivision was listed at $109,900.

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