Foreclosures Re-infect Florida Markets | Bedford Hills Real Estate

It’s deja vu all over again in Florida. In a virtual re-run of Florida’s housing economy, its foreclosure starts lead the nation, prices are falling and inventories are too big, especially on the coasts.

Florida posted the nation’s highest statewide foreclosure rate for the fifth month in a row in January, and also had the highest number of properties with foreclosure filings for the month, marking the first month since January 2007 that California has not had the highest number of properties with foreclosure filings, RealtyTrac reported today.

With one in every 223 housing units with a foreclosure filing in January, the Ocala, Fla., metro area posted the nation’s highest foreclosure rate in January among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more. But that’s just the beginning of Florida’s woes.

The top 10 markets for foreclosures include five other Florida metro areas: 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).

Florida also topped RealtyTrac’s list of best markets to buy a foreclosure. Five other Florida cities ranked among the Top 20 best places to buy foreclosures: Lakeland, Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami.

In 2012, Florida posted the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, eclipsing Nevada for the first time, according to RealtyTrac. Activity in Florida rose 53.5 percent in 2012 from a year earlier, as lenders stepped up activity following the Attorneys General settlement last spring. In many cases, court backlogs and faulty bank filings have drawn out foreclosures through years of delays. RealtyTrac reported a typical Florida foreclosure lasts more than 28 months, four times as long as in 2007.

Florida cities made terrific progress against foreclosures two years ago, as the “Florida Phenomenon” led the nation into recovery. But today the state is second worse behind Nevada in terms of its lack of recovery price declines since the 2007 housing crash. Including distressed transactions, Florida markets are 43.5 percent lower today than they were at the peak, according to CoreLogic.

While foreclosure inventories in markets like Phoenix and Las Vegas are so low that the foreclosure discount-the difference between full-price homes and comparable REOs-has virtually disappeared. In Miami, the discount is still 38 percent, sign that supply is outpacing supply. In Orlando, the discount is less, 19 percent, but it’s 35 percent in Tampa and 31 percent in West Palm Beach, according to data from Home Value Forecast.

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