New foreclosure cases dropped sharply in South Florida last year — more momentum for a healing housing market.
Broward had 6,287 filings in 2014, a 42 percent decline from 2013, according to the RealtyTrac listing firm. Palm Beach County had 3,920 filings, down 55 percent from a year earlier.
The two counties still have elevated levels of scheduled auctions, when a judge sets a date for a home to be repossessed. But most of those are cases initiated during the housing collapse, said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, based in Irvine, California.
In fact, three-quarters of the home loans currently in some stage of foreclosure across Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties were originated from 2004 to 2008, Blomquist said. RealtyTrac monitors public records for three types of foreclosure filings: new cases, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.
"Florida is definitely out of the crisis mode," Blomquist said. "We're still dealing with the cleanup from the crisis, and we expect that to be over by the end of this year."
Blomquist predicts another wave of new cases this year as lenders become more comfortable with the requirements of a foreclosure law that went into effect in 2013. But he said the surge won't be enough to derail the housing recovery — and it may even be a good thing because it puts more homes on the market for frustrated buyers.
But Xxxxx Xxxxxx, an agent in Palm Beach and Broward counties for XXX Realtors, said foreclosed homes typically aren't in good condition because they haven't been maintained. She said fewer foreclosures and a steady increase in property values will reduce the number of "desperate sellers."
"Because of a decline in desperate sellers, we could see a better quality of homes on the market," Xxxxxx said.
Although total filings fell 24 percent in Florida last year, the Sunshine State still ranked No. 1 in foreclosures nationwide, with 2.3 percent of all housing units receiving a notice in 2014.
Meanwhile, Florida homes completing the foreclosure process in the fourth quarter of 2014 took an average of 946 days to work through the court system. That's the third highest timeline in the country after Hawaii (1,067 days) and New Jersey (1,057).
© 2015 Sun-Sentinel
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Fort Lauderdale Home Price Index
The latest Standard & Poor's / Case-Shiller Home Price Index
for South Florida (the Fort Lauderdale, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach reporting area)
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Through August 2014
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