MANATEE -- Florida topped the nation in foreclosures in May with five of the top 10 metro areas, including Manatee-Sarasota, coming from the Sunshine State.
Florida Realtors and bankers say its a good news-bad news scenario for the state, which is finally moving foreclosed residential property through the court system, adding to the existing housing market, but leaving banks with properties they have to offload quickly.
Manatee County's rate of foreclosures increased 11.5 percent year over year from May 2012 to May 2013, according to RealtyTrac's Foreclosure Market Report.
One out of every 494 houses in Manatee County is in foreclosure. When looking at the metro area, which includes Sarasota, North Port and Manatee, one out of every 360 housing units is in foreclosure, making it No. 10 in the nation for the number of foreclosures.
Manatee County's foreclosure listings are lower than the state of Florida which, according to RealtyTrac, has one out of every 302 houses in foreclosure. It's rate of foreclosure is also lower than the state's 12.1 percent.
With a total number of 348 houses under closure, Manatee County contributes to the state's overall foreclosures of 29,606, according to RealtyTrac.
President and Co-owner of RE/MAX Alliance Group, Peter Crowley, links the increases to legislative changes along with banks working to sell properties that have been in the foreclo
Crowley does not believe the increase in foreclosures will necessarily flood the market and bring down housing prices.
"The demand is so significant, and with little inventory, properties will be absorbed very quickly," Crowley said. "Adjustments on prices may occur but there probably will not be a big change on the prices."
It is difficult to determine how long this rapid increase will last, he said, but there are potential benefits for new homebuyers and investors.
Deeana Atkinson, president of the Manatee Association of Realtors, said the foreclosure increase is having a positive impacts on the housing market.
"The foreclosure is actually not making things worse since houses can now be put on the market again," Atkinson said. The increase sparks critical opportunities for buyers and for realtors, Atkinson said.
But the increased foreclosure rate isn't all good news.
"No bank wants to foreclose on a property as the impact of taking the collateral since devalued real estate has negative impacts on the bank balance sheet," said Frank Knautz, a community banking consultant in Sarasota.
Increasing residential and commercial foreclosure rates over the past year are following a trend that began in 2007, he said.
"From the year 2007, properties of all types were foreclosed at a pace which crippled the judicial system and eroded the capital foundation of banks throughout the region," Knautz said.
As a result of unpaid loans collateralized by declining real estate, Knautz said nine community banks in the Manatee/Sarasota were closed.
The market has since had a chance to stabilize somewhat and now foreclosures are once again on the increase.
With one in every 209 housing units with a foreclosure filing, Miami posted the nation's highest foreclosure rate in May among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more. Foreclosure activity in the Miami metro area was up 59 percent from a year ago.
Five other Florida metro areas posted foreclosure rates that ranked among the top 10 in May: Jacksonville at No. 2 (one in every 225 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Tampa at No. 3 (one in every 290 housing units); Orlando at No. 7 (one in every 336 housing units); Ocala at No. 9 (one in every 352 housing units); and Sarasota at No. 10 (one in every 360 housing units).