MANATEE COUNTY -- The latest foreclosure reports released are a mix of good and bad news for Manatee County.
Manatee County foreclosures took a significant dive in April with 68 percent fewer foreclosures compared to March, when 550 total homes were in various stages of foreclosures, according to RealtyTrac's U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. However, April's 175 foreclosures are a 78.5 percent increase from a year ago.
One out of every 983 homes in Manatee County are in foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac, placing the county 50th among Florida's 67 counties.
Banks have no other choice than to be motivated to get the bank-owned real estate off their books and back into the hands of new homeowners, but the lending game has changed, said Frank Knautz, a community banking consultant based in Sarasota.
Across the state, Florida had 24,656 foreclosures in various stages, leading the country in raw numbers. The Sunshine State's foreclosure rate -- one out of 363 homes -- barely ranks above Nevada where one out of every 360 homes is in foreclosure, according to the latest U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released by RealtyTrac.
Both Florida and Nevada are judicial foreclosure state, meaning foreclosures are required to be processed through the court system so the defaulted debt is confirmed.
"The April numbers indicate that the pig is moving through the python when it comes to deferred foreclosures in judicial foreclosure states," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "Foreclosure starts have been increasing for several months in many of the judicial states, and now that increased volume is showing up in the second stage of the process: the public foreclosure auction. Scheduled foreclosure auctions in judicial states jumped to a 30-month high in April, evidence that lenders are serious about moving forward with completing the foreclosure process -- either through repossession or sale to a third party investor at public auction."
RealtyTrac's report shows scheduled foreclosure auctions increased by 55 percent in Florida compared to last year. This is the fourth straight month of annual increases for scheduled foreclosure auctions, according to the report.
Bank repossessions of Florida homes increased 9 percent over last year, a number that has increased in 15 of the last 16 months.
Florida led the nation in foreclosure completions. The state had 6,344 completed foreclosures turned over to banks in April -- a 16 percent decrease from March, but a 9 percent jump from a year ago, according to the report.
Five Florida cities posted foreclosure rates in April that ranked among the nation's top 10, according to RealtyTrac: Ocala at No. 2 (one in every 225 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach at No. 3 (one in every 269 housing units); Orlando-Kissimmee at No. 4 (one in every 287); Jacksonville at No. 7 (one in every 345 housing units); and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater at No. 9 (one in every 384 housing units). Manatee-Sarasota drops off the top 10 list after checking in at No. 7 for March foreclosures.
Nationally, Akron, Ohio, led the way with one in every 211 housing units listing a foreclosure filing in April, which is four times the national average.
The good news is that first-time foreclosure notices in Florida dropped 27 percent from March and has seen a 30 percent decrease from April 2012, according to RealtyTrac.
Charles Schelle, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.