Fla. foreclosures up 12% in Jan., 20% year-to-year

IRVINE, Calif. – Feb. 14, 2013 – RealtyTrac issued its January foreclosure report, and Florida once again ranked at the top of the list for the fifth month in a row for foreclosure filings – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

A total of 29,800 Florida properties had a foreclosure filing during the month, up 12 percent from the previous month and up 20 percent from January 2012. One in every 300 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing in January – more than twice the national average.

Florida achieved another dubious distinction in January: While it has ranked No. 1 for foreclosure rate (number of foreclosures compared to total number of mortgages) for five months in a row, January marked the first month where it also had the highest total number of mortgages in the foreclosure process. Larger California has held that spot since January 2007.

Analyzed at the city (MSA) level, Florida cities took six of the top 10 foreclosure-rate spots, with Ocala ranked the No. 1 city with a population of 200,000 or more for foreclosures. In Ocala, one in every 223 housing units had a foreclosure filing in January.

Five other Florida metro areas documented foreclosure rates in the top 10: Miami at No. 2 (one in 228 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Orlando at No. 3 (one in 241 housing units); Jacksonville at No. 8 (one in 301 housing units); Tampa at No. 9 (one in 307 housing units); and Lakeland at No. 10 (one in 332 housing units).

The rise in Florida foreclosures won’t stop the state’s housing recovery, according to Dr. John Tuccillo, Florida Realtors chief economist. “I don’t think this news changes where the market is going, which is everything that should be going up is going up – sales are up, prices are up – and everything that should be going down is going down: the days on the market, the inventory.”

National foreclosures

Nationally, foreclosure filings decreased 7 percent from the previous month and 28 percent since January 2012. The report shows one in every 869 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month

“The U.S. foreclosure landscape in January was profoundly altered by the effects of new legislation that took effect in California on the first of the year,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Dubbed the Homeowners Bill of Rights, this legislation extends many of the principles in the national mortgage settlement – including a prohibition on so-called dual tracking and requiring a single point of contact for borrowers facing foreclosure – to all mortgage servicers operating in California.

“In addition, the new law imposes fines of up to $7,500 per loan for filing of multiple unverified foreclosure documents. As a result, the downward foreclosure trend in California accelerated into hyper speed in January, decisively shifting the balance of power when it comes to the nation’s foreclosure activity.”

Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation’s 10 highest were Arizona (one in 501 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Georgia (one in 513 housing units), Ohio (one in 612 housing units), Washington (one in 674 housing units), California (one in 753 housing units), Indiana (one in 784 housing units), and Michigan (one in every 837 housing units).

Other cities with foreclosure rates in the top 10 were Rockford, Ill., at No. 4 (one in every 265 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Stockton, Calif., at No. 5 (one in every 277 housing units); Las Vegas at No. 6 (one in 283 housing units); and Chicago at No. 7 (one in 293 housing units).

house flotation pic© 2013 Florida Realtors®

Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved.

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