South Florida Foreclosures Decrease in Q1

The first quarter of 2016 has shown a decline in the number of foreclosure cases in South Florida proving that the tri-county region has certainly rebounded from the recent housing crisis. According to RealtyTrac, the foreclosure listing firm, the number of foreclosures was down 24% from the same time last year.

During the peak time of the recent housing crisis in the third quarter of 2010, more than 58,000 properties were dealing with problem mortgages. Meanwhile in the first quarter of this year there were only 10,000 South Florida homes in some stage of foreclosure.

“The market goes in cycles, but we’re definitely, firmly back to what we would consider a normal and healthy level of foreclosure activity,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president of RealtyTrac.

Of all of the 216 markets analyzed which included Florida, more than a third have dropped to a number of foreclosures that is below their pre-recession levels. As the economy has strengthened in both the housing and job markets it has made for better conditions for struggling homeowners.

For many people, “foreclosure was just inevitable,” said Tom Ice, a South Florida real estate lawyer. “The big problem with being ‘underwater’ on your mortgage is that you couldn’t sell the house. You had no equity to work with. But as soon as prices started to creep up, all of that [went] away.”

Ice and other industry professionals cite that lenders might be delaying the filing of foreclosures until the Florida Supreme Court decides how the statute of limitations affects older cases. The delay is not expected to yield another wave of distressed loans however.

The Third District Court of Appeal has basically stated that the statute of limitations does not expire during the life of a mortgage. In other words, those who had foreclosures dismissed over five years ago could possibly see their lenders re-filing their cases. According to RealtyTrac, the majority of foreclosures of today stemmed back to the most recent housing crisis. The homes that completed their process in the first quarter of this year had an average of 1,018 days to make their way through the system.

As all signs have been indicating a strong forecast in 2016 for the real estate market, we should only anticipate normality in the market all around.