Florida still No. 1 in foreclosure activity, RealtyTrac data show

Florida remained the No. 1 state in the nation in foreclosure activity in February despite a long trend of improvement, according to RealtyTrac.

For February, Florida’s foreclosure activity, which is a tally of initial filings, auction notices, and lender repossessions, dropped 24 percent from a year earlier, the Irvine, Calif.-based data firm said.

Even with that decline, one in every 372 residences in Florida got some sort of filing during the month, a rate more than three times the national average.

One reason Florida still leads the pack: its judicial foreclosure process drags on such a long time — 1,095 days on average. Only Arkansas (averaging 1,128 days) and Hawaii (averaging 1,112 days) took longer to resolve foreclosures, RealtyTrac said.

For the area encompassing Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach, foreclosure activity fell 33 percent in February compared with a year earlier and was down 27 percent from the prior month.

Nine of the 10 major metro areas in the U.S. with the highest foreclosure rates in February were in Florida. Topping the list was Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville. Tampa ranked No. 2; Jacksonville, No. 3; and Miami, No. 4 with one in every 328 residences seeing some type of foreclosure activity during the month. Port St. Lucie came in fifth.

Hopeful signs? New foreclosure filings in Florida dropped year over year for the 12th consecutive month, and Florida bank repossessions fell annually for the sixth consecutive month, RealtyTrac said. Scheduled foreclosure auctions in Florida fell 2 percent year over year in February after 13 consecutive months of increases.

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