Florida has the nation’s highest foreclosure rate for the third month in a row, a report shows.
One in every 304 homes in the Sunshine State was in some stage of foreclosure during November – more than twice the national average, according to the RealtyTrac Inc. listing firm.
Florida had 29,612 filings last month, up 20 percent from a year ago. Still, the number was less than half of the state’s peak: 64,588 filings in April 2009.
“Foreclosures will continue to hold back the Florida market as long as they linger, but the worst is over,” RealtyTrac spokesman Daren Blomquist said Wednesday.
Fort Lauderdale lawyer Joe Kohn said the number of clients seeking his assistance with foreclosures or short sales has been steady over the past few years.
“I just haven’t seen a slowdown in my practice,” Kohn said, adding that he does expect rising home values to help diminish foreclosures in the coming months.
Deerfield Beach housing analyst Jack McCabe isn’t as optimistic.
He said banks will step up efforts to complete short sales with distressed homeowners and unload foreclosed homes and non-performing mortgages to investors in bulk.
What’s more, McCabe said, there are 550,000 Florida homeowners who haven’t received default notices even though they’re at least 90 days delinquent.
“It’s not that the foreclosure problem has gone away,” he said.
RealtyTrac monitors public records for three types of filings: default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.
Broward filings bucked the statewide trend, falling 24 percent in November from a year earlier, RealtyTrac said. Palm Beach County foreclosures increased 11 percent over the same period.
The South Florida metro area, which includes Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, had the nation’s fifth-highest foreclosure rate among communities with populations of at least 200,000.
Six other Florida communities ranked in the top 10. Palm Bay-Melbourne was first.