South Florida falls to third in national foreclosure rankings

Mon May 13, 2013 by on Florida Law News

Written By Paul Owers, Sun Sentinel 5:37 a.m. EDT, May 9, 2013 and republished in The South Florida Law Blog with excerpts from Roy Oppenheim.

South Florida third in national foreclosure rankings - Sun Sentinel - Roy Oppenheim

S. Fla falls to third in national foreclosure rankings. Lenders must prove they can foreclose before filing and some say bill restricts due-process rights.

South Florida has relinquished its ranking as the nation’s top spot for foreclosures.

After posting the No. 1 foreclosure rate for two consecutive months, the metro area covering Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties fell to third in April, according to RealtyTrac Inc.

One in every 269 homes in the tri-county region was in some stage of foreclosure last month, RealtyTrac said. Akron, Ohio, ranked first, at one in 211 homes, and Ocala was second at one in 225 homes.

The Irvine, Calif.-based listing firm monitors public records for three types of foreclosure filings: new cases, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

South Florida had 9,127 total filings in April, up slightly from a year earlier, but new cases declined by 35 percent, said Daren Blomquist, a spokesman for RealtyTrac.

“It appears that lenders have caught up with these delayed foreclosures,” he said. “Banks are pushing through the backlog, so we’re getting closer to seeing a resolution with these distressed homes.”

Foreclosures mounted across the country during the housing bust. But some lenders held back on filings starting in late 2010 over concerns about possible paperwork errors.

While Florida last month had the nation’s second-highest foreclosure rate, after Nevada, filings are down sharply across the Sunshine State since the 2009 peak, Blomquist said.

Florida had the top foreclosure rate for six months in a row until being surpassed by Nevada in March.

More than 24,600 Florida homes were in the foreclosure process last month, down slightly from a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac.

It takes an average of 893 days to complete a foreclosure in Florida, the third-longest time in the nation, after New York (1,089 days) and New Jersey (1,002), RealtyTrac said.

Florida lawmakers have passed a bill that would speed foreclosures, forcing homeowners to respond more quickly to filings and giving homeowners’ associations more power in the process.

Gov. Rick Scott still must review the legislation, which also requires lenders to prove they have the right to foreclose before they file a case and reduces the amount of time banks can recover a mortgage deficiency from five years to one.

“There is so much in the bill to like,” said Donna DiMaggio Berger, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer for homeowners’ associations. “Our fingers are crossed.”

Opponents say the bill restricts homeowners’ due-process rights. “It creates a presumption of guilt on the homeowner,” said Roy Oppenheim, a foreclosure defense lawyer in Weston.

Real Estate and Foreclosure Defense Attorney Roy Oppenheim talks about the senate passing the HB 87 Bill speeding up foreclosure processReal estate attorney and foreclosure defense attorney, Roy Oppenheim left Wall Street for Main Street, founding Oppenheim Law along with his wife Ellen in 1989 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and is vice president of Weston Title and creator of the South Florida Law Blog, named the best business and technology blog by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Follow Roy on Twitter at @OpLaw or like Oppenheim Law on Facebook.


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One response to “South Florida falls to third in national foreclosure rankings”

  1. […] South Florida foreclosures are down. After reporting the No. 1 foreclosure rate for two consecutive months, the metro area covering […]