Real Estate Monday: Foreclosure Story Still Being Written

Central Florida, Miami and Port St. Lucie are still plagued by high foreclosure rates.

Central Florida, Miami and Port St. Lucie are still plagued by high foreclosure rates.

I remember a conversation I had with an urban planner some years back.

It stuck with me.

She said that during the good times, it’s hard to see an end. It feels like the party will go on forever.

She also said that during the bad times in real estate, it’s also hard to see an end. You feel like the busts will drag on forever.

For those of us who weathered the recent boom and bust, those words probably ring true.

As an elected official from 2000-07, I remember a post 9/11 recession followed by a boom that was extraordinary.

When I went to the mail box I was often greeted by fliers from people wanting to buy my house—I wasn’t alone.

Water cooler conversation often started like this” “can you believe that they just sold a house in Lake Ida for X?” and was often topped by “can you believe what they are getting for townhouses downtown”?

When I went to City Hall, there were sometimes lines out the building at the Planning Department with people submitting plans for additions, new construction and new developments. It was that kind of an era.

Then it ended. Boom. Like a window had slammed shut.

We saw values decrease, development dry up and a ton of people hurt by the foreclosure crisis.

That’s why it was heartening news to see a new study last week by RealtyTrac which saw foreclosure rates fall to the lowest level in eight years.

But the Sunshine State is still suffering, with pockets –including Miami and Central Florida– still dealing with a very high volume of foreclosures.

RealtyTrac released its Midyear 2014 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows a total of 613,874 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — in the first half of 2014, a 19 percent decrease from the previous six months and down 23 percent from the first half of 2013. The report also shows that 0.47 percent of all U.S. housing units (one in 214) had at least one foreclosure filing in the first six months of the year.

Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, pointed out: “There continue to be concerning trends in some states and local markets that clearly indicate those markets are not completely out of the woods when it comes to the lingering foreclosure problem left over from the housing bust. While it’s important that any remaining foreclosure infection is addressed promptly to keep it from festering, foreclosures are no longer a widespread contagion threatening to derail the housing market’s return to full health.”

Atop of the list of markets “not completely out of the woods,” was Florida. Foreclosure starts in the first half of the year affected one in 74 housing units in Florida. The figure was three times the national average. The RealtyTrac report indicated “Florida scheduled foreclosure auctions have increased annually in 16 of the last 18 months.”

Additionally, most of the cities that suffer from high foreclosure rates are in Florida:

Despite the annual decrease, Miami posted the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate: 1.65 percent of all housing units (one in 61) with a foreclosure filing during the first half of the year. Eight other Florida metro areas joined Miami among the top 10 metro foreclosure rates nationwide: Orlando at No. 2 (1.57 percent of all housing units with a foreclosure filing); Port St. Lucie at No. 3 (1.49 percent); Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville at No. 4 (1.49 percent); Tampa-St. Petersburg at No. 5 (1.41 percent); Lakeland at No. 6 (1.35 percent); Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach at No. 7 (1.29 percent); Ocala at No. 8 (1.26 percent); and Jacksonville at No. 9 (1.24 percent).

Still, nationally June was the 45th consecutive month foreclosure activity was down on an annual basis.

“Over the next six to nine months, nationwide foreclosure numbers should start to flat line at consistently historically normal levels,” Blomquist.

That’s good news, because housing is such an important part of our economy.


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