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Florida #1 in foreclosure, but new filings dropping

Foreclosure remains a big problem in Florida. The state had the highest rate of foreclosure in the country last year at 2.3 percent. Four of the five urban hardest hit by foreclosure in 2014 were in Florida: Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Space Coast. Only Atlantic City, New Jersey had a higher percentage of properties in foreclosure.

Still, the news is not all bad. New foreclosure filings dropped big large percentages in South Florida in 2014, when compared with 2013.

For instance, there were 3,920 foreclosure filings in Palm Beach County last year, 55 percent fewer than in 2013. Broward County’s 6,287 new filings were 42 percent fewer year-over-year.

The fact that Florida continues to lead the U.S. in foreclosure may have to do with the large number of cases pending. Three-fourths of mortgages in foreclosure originated between 2004 to 2008, according to RealtyTrac. A home that finished the process in the fourth quarter of 2014 spent an average of 946 days in foreclosure, the third-slowest rate in the country.

An executive with that company said that Florida is “definitely out of the crisis mode.” However, he predicted that foreclosures will go up in 2015, because lenders are adjusting to new regulations.

A homeowner facing foreclosure does not have to assume that they will lose their home. An attorney can help them mount a defense, negotiate a settlement or possibly get the foreclosure dismissed due to a legal violation or error by the lender. Going it alone will make keeping your home much more difficult.

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