I said after the foreclosure settlement was announced that banks had been given the green light to rev up their foreclosures engines, and in South Florida at least, I’m being proven right.
RealtyTrac’s numbers from last month show dramatic year-over-year increases in both new foreclosure filings (85%) and repossessions (39%) in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties, compared to March 2011.
In Florida overall, new foreclosure cases were up 58 percent. Nationally however, new filings dropped 12 percent from last year, however they rose 7 percent from February.
Since the sunshine state has one of the largest foreclosure backlogs in the country, it really shouldn’t surprise you that the numbers skew so heavily against Florida.
The settlement has emboldened banks to become more aggressive in seeking to foreclosure, and the numbers certainly back that up.
More back and forth this week from Edward DeMarco, who despite announcing that principal reduction could save Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac 1.7 billion dollars, seems unwilling to venture far from his previous stance on loan modifications.
He said in a speech this week that a new analysis does show writing down the value of some underwater mortgages does have the potential to lower foreclosure rate and save both GSEs substantial money, but he’s still downplaying the significance of principal reduction.
While he has eased up on his previous refusals to even entertain the idea of modifications, he still seems fixated on the risk of strategic default, which he feels could wipeout any potential savings.