After three consecutive months at the top, Florida is no longer leading the nation in foreclosures, according to data released Thursday from the RealtyTrac listing firm.
The state posted a 14 percent decline in the number of foreclosures last month dropping to No. 2 after Nevada. Foreclosure starts in the Sunshine State dropped dramatically last month — 65 percent — compared with the same time last year. Several other states posted similar significant drops.
South Florida is also on the rebound. Broward was down 27 percent in foreclosures last month and 12 percent from last year. Palm Beach County had even a steeper drop: down 33 percent from last month and 27 percent from the year before.
Both the state and South Florida are finally working its way out of the housing crisis with an improving economy helping people avoid foreclosure, said Jorge Salazar-Carrillo, an economics professor who directs the Center of Economic Research at Florida International University. "We're at the tail end," Salazar-Carrillo said.
The glut in foreclosure cases have already been significantly reduced in the last year or so, he added. "We are now on the fast track," he said.
Still, foreclosures in Florida may go up in the next few months, warned Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
New state legislation that took effect July 1 might be "suppressing foreclosure cases while the lenders figure out the new law," said Blomquist. The new law is supposed to speed up the foreclosure process, but lenders also are required to have all their paperwork in place.
Last month, Nevada took over as No. 1 in the country for foreclosures after the western state jumped in foreclosure starts.
In Florida, some 23,372 homes were in the foreclosure process in August — a 15 percent drop from a year ago, RealtyTrac noted.
Last month, one in every 383 Florida homes was in the foreclosure process; the U.S. average was one out of 1,019, RealtyTrac reported.
Palm Beach County had one out of 398 homes in the foreclosure process; Broward had one out of 372.
© 2013 Sun-Sentinel®
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