Florida led the nation in foreclosure activity for the third month running in November, a dubious distinction that will likely dampen the momentum of the real estate recovery in the coming year, according to RealtyTrac.
Even as foreclosure activity decreased nationally, foreclosure filings in Florida jumped 20 percent in November from a year earlier and rose 3 percent from October, the data firm based in Irvine, Calif., said.
Among the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates, seven are in Florida, the firm said. The metro area covering Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach ranked No. 5 among cities, with one in every 260 residences logging some sort of foreclosure activity, including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, RealtyTrac said.
The pickup in Florida’s foreclosure activity has emerged since the major settlement last spring of the robo-signing cases.
After 49 state attorneys general filed suit in 2010 against five big mortgage banks over egregious foreclosure procedures implemented amid an avalanche of soured mortgages, foreclosure activity slowed dramatically. With the massive settlement approved in April, lenders now have adapted to the ground rules and have a clearer path forward in pressing foreclosure cases, said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.
“This is injecting a little reality into the Florida housing market,” Blomquist said of the rising foreclosures. “I don’t think this will crater housing prices, by any means. In markets that are very strong, it may not lower prices at all. It will definitely dampen things. It’ll be a drag on the market.”
One in every 304 Florida residences had some sort of foreclosure filing in November, more than twice the national average, RealtyTrac said.
The rising foreclosure activity in Florida comes as foreclosure activity nationwide fell 3 percent in November from October and plunged 19 percent from November 2011, the firm said. Foreclosure starts hit a 71-month low nationwide.
But in Florida, which is among the states where foreclosures are handled in more time-consuming proceedings in the courts rather than administratively, “we’re seeing a rise in activity across the board,” Blomquist said.
In November in Florida, foreclosure starts rose 7 percent year over year, scheduled auctions jumped 51 percent and bank repossessions rose 15 percent.
Behind Florida, the states ranking highest in foreclosure activity in November were Nevada, Illinois, California and South Carolina, the firm said.