MANATEE -- Fewer Manatee County homes were in foreclosure in October compared to last year, giving another sign of recovery before the area's hottest real estate season begins.
October saw 612 homes in some stage in foreclosure in Manatee County, down 56.37 percent from October 2012, according to a new report by RealtyTrac, a company specializing in real estate.
That meant one in every 612 homes were in foreclosure in October, beating out both Sarasota County's rate for one in every 478 and better than Florida's average of 332. Florida leads the nation with the highest foreclosure rate after spending the previous two months in second place, according to RealtyTrac.
Manatee County helped Florida become a basement dweller in the rankings thanks to a 96.5 percent increase in foreclosures since September, according to the data. Out of the 612 foreclosures in Manatee, 114 were in the Lis Pen
dens phase for the first notice of filing, while 82 were going through the judicial auction process and 85 became bank-owned, according to RealtyTrac.
"The backlog of delayed judicial foreclosures continues to make its way through the pipeline, with many of these properties now being scheduled for the public auction after starting the foreclosure process last year or earlier this year," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "Lenders are likely moving these properties more rapidly to the public auction given that there is strong demand from institutional buy-to-rent investors at the auction and that rising home prices mean more of the loan losses can be recoupled, either by selling to an investor at the auction or by repossessing the property and reselling as bank owned."
The sudden spike from September should be downplayed in favor of the longterm trend showing the decline in foreclosures locally, said Tom Heatherman, spokesman for Michael Saunders & Co.
"The good news is that these things are working through the courts at a time that buyers are looking for them," Heatherman said.
Charles Schelle, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.