Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Still in the 'Danger Zone' | Foreclosures in State and Southwest Florida Drop, but Not Enough Yet

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Still in the 'Danger Zone' | Foreclosures in State and Southwest Florida Drop, but Not Enough Yet

Article excerpt

RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE

Florida remains the foreclosure capital of the country, but the number of homeowners who have lost their properties is down sharply.

Florida led the nation with 74,303 completed foreclosures in the 12-month period through January, data provider CoreLogic reported.

While that was significantly higher than any other state, the foreclosure activity was down nearly 37 percent over the year.

The state posted a 2.4 percent foreclosure rate, with that share of homeowners mired in some stage of the foreclosure process. That tied for the third-highest rate in the nation.

But it dropped from 3.5 percent one year ago and from 6.4 percent in 2014.

Florida accounted for about 16 percent of all the completed foreclosures in the past year.

Nationwide, foreclosure activity is slowing as well. Lenders completed 472,659 foreclosures in the past year, some 120,300 fewer than the prior 12-month period.

"In January, the national foreclosure rate was 1.2 percent, down to one-third the peak from exactly five years earlier, in January 2011, a remarkable improvement," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. "The months' supply of foreclosure fell to 12 months, which is modestly above the nine-month rate seen 10 years earlier, and indicates the market's ability to clear the stock of foreclosures is close to normal."

The number of completed U.S. foreclosures in January 2016 was down nearly 68 percent from the peak of 117,743 in September 2010.

Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.1 million completed foreclosures across the country, CoreLogic said.

And since homeownership rates peaked in second-quarter 2004, about 8.2 million homes have been lost to foreclosure.

Meanwhile, the number of mortgages in serious delinquency -- 90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure or seized by lenders -- is down to 5.2 percent of all homes in Florida, a one- third decline over the year.

Nationally, that delinquency rate declined by 22. …

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