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South Florida escapes #1 foreclosure filings spot

There is some semi-good news to report about the continued foreclosure crisis in Florida. South Florida is no longer the number-one metropolitan area for foreclosure filings, according to recent data. It is now in third place, still quite high but an improvement nonetheless.

According to a report released last month by RealtyTrac, in January the South Florida metro area had 6,545 foreclosure filings, a term that refers to new suits, repossessions and judgments. Adjusting for size, that means one out of every 382 housing units in the tri-county area had some sort of filing that month.

Atlantic City “won” the “award” for highest filing rate in the U.S., with one new filing per 338 housing units. Ocala took second place.

In fact, the trend could be even more encouraging. Month-over-month, foreclosure filings went up 24.1 percent from December 2014 to January of this year. A writer for South Florida Business Journal believes this could be due to lenders holding off on repossessing houses during the holiday season. Consequently, the January number would be somewhat artificially inflated.

For homeowners, this could mean the light is finally appearing at the end of the tunnel, which seems to be happening more slowly in South Florida than most of the rest of the country. However, given that the area still is the third-worst U.S. metro area for filings, the crisis is clearly not yet over.

If you have fallen behind on your mortgage, are underwater or have received a notice of foreclosure, your first step should be to contact an attorney experienced in foreclosure defense.

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