MANATEE — Fewer Manatee County homes fell into foreclosure or were taken back by lenders in August, a better performance than the state or nation as a whole, according to data released today.
Lenders issued 894 foreclosure-related filings in Manatee last month, a rate of one in every 190 households, RealtyTrac Inc. reported. That was a 22.1-percent drop from July and down 5.1 percent from August 2009, the Irvine, Calif.-based foreclosure listing service said.
Meanwhile, U.S. and Florida foreclosure filings rose 4.2 percent and 10.3 percent respectively from July, and fell by percentages lower than Manatee from the previous year, RealtyTrac said.
A market expert said the improving local numbers are welcome but called the decline a temporary reprieve.
“We’re in a lull right now, but soon they’ll come back hot and heavy,” said Matt Augustyniak, owner/broker of Horizon Realty International in Bradenton, which has a large volume of foreclosure sales and short sales.
He said lenders continue to delay initiating foreclosures and taking back homes, partly because of government foreclosure-prevention programs. Banks also are using that tactic to keep losses off their books so they can meet federal capital reserve requirements for as long as possible, Augustyniak said.
But recent federal financial reform measures will force lenders to take those bad assets sooner rather than later, and Augustyniak predicts that will lead to another spike in foreclosures.
“The banks have got to make money and stay in business some way,” he said. “It (a foreclosed home) is a non-performing asset, but it’s still an asset.”
Others also have predicted that resets on adjustable-rate mortgages, expected to peak in mid-2011, also will help trigger yet another wave of foreclosures.
Lenders repossessed 123 Manatee homes in August, down from 160 in July but up from 74 in August 2009, RealtyTrac said. Lenders also are sending more foreclosure-auction notices but fewer initial default notices in Manatee, the company said.
RealtyTrac counted 56,877 foreclosure-related filings, including more than 12,300 properties taken by banks, in Florida last month. The state’s filing rate of one for every 155 homes was second only to Nevada.
Banks issued more than 338,000 foreclosure notices nationally, a rate of one in every 381 U.S. homes. Lenders repossessed 95,364 U.S. homes in August.
About the same number of U.S. homes entered the foreclosure process, which RealtyTrac said is “a clear indication that the clogged foreclosure pipeline in being carefully managed on both ends by lenders and servicers.”
That eases fears that banks, weighed down by a shadow inventory of foreclosed homes, would flood the market and further drive down housing values.
But Augustyniak said he expects banks to start making “quarterly dumps” of excess inventory to comply with tougher federal regulations.
Among metro areas. Las Vegas continued to have the nation’s highest foreclosure rate, RealtyTrac said. Two Florida markets were among the 10 worst: Fort Myers was third and Miami-Fort Lauderdale was fifth.
Duane Marsteller, transportation/growth and development reporter, can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 2630.