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Foreclosures down 40 percent from 2014 – Sarasota Herald

The region’s foreclosure activity plunged nearly 40 percent in August over the year, tracking a statewide trend that saw foreclosures dip to their lowest rate in more than eight years, real estate researcher RealtyTrac reported Wednesday.

For the first time since June 2012, Florida’s foreclosure rate did not rank among the top three in the nation, with actions on distressed homes down by 33 percent over the year.

A total of 618 foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were recorded in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties in August, or 400 fewer than last year, when lenders were still adjusting to new state regulations about foreclosing on homeowners.

Bank repossessions, known as REOs, increased by 6 percent in the three-county region and by 23 percent statewide over the year, according to RealtyTrac.

“We saw a small increase in REOs into a strong market as positive,” said Mike Pappas, president of the Keyes Co., who follows Florida data. “The market is easily absorbing them at higher prices, and we are cleaning out the remnants from our ponderous judicial system.”

Lenders continue to mop up from the housing crisis, while escalating property values have helped more homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Foreclosure activity nationwide fell 6 percent in August, which followed five straight months of year-over-year increases. Bank repossessions jumped 40 percent over the year.

“Foreclosure starts in August continued to search for a new floor below even pre-recession levels, indicating the housing recovery of the past three years is built on a solid financing foundation,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

“But the continued rise in bank repossessions indicates more batches of bank-owned homes will be rippling through the housing market over the next three to 12 months as lenders list these properties for sale.,” he said.

In Sarasota, lenders filed 299 foreclosure actions last month, with one in every 764 homes in some stage of the process.

Manatee recorded 195 filings, with one in every 889 homes in foreclosure.

Charlotte lenders filed 124 foreclosures, leaving the county with one in every 812 homes in distress.

On a 12-month, rolling basis — a measure that smooths out monthly swings — foreclosure activity was down by 19 percent in both Sarasota and Manatee and by 7.5 percent in Charlotte.

Lis pendens filings — the first step in the legal foreclosure process — dropped by 32 percent over the year in Southwest Florida, a sign that fewer homeowners are struggling to pay their mortgages.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg region posted the highest foreclosure rate among the nation’s largest metro areas, with one in every 527 homes with a filing in August.

Article source: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20150917/article/150919731

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