Florida Foreclosures, Second Highest in the U.S.

by on Foreclosure Rates

Florida foreclosures accounted for around 17 percent of the country’s 2,330,483 foreclosure filings in 2008, according to California-based foreclosure tracking firm RealtyTrac. There were around 385,309 Florida foreclosures last year, an increase of 412 percent from 2006 and a 133 percent increase from 2007. In December 2008, there were 50,808 Florida foreclosures, a 3 percent increase from November 2008 and an increase of 63 percent from December 2007.

Florida foreclosures ranked second only to California in 2008 mostly due to the state’s unemployment rate which is much higher than the national average, according to RealtyTrac’s chief executive officer James Saccacio. The state’s jobless rate increased by 3.5 percent in 2009, compounding problems arising from low home prices and soaring number of foreclosed properties.

At the top of the country’s ranking of states with the highest foreclosure filings is California, which had 523,624 filings. The third is Arizona, which had 116,911 filings. Ohio and Michigan are fourth and fifth, with 113,570 and 106,058 foreclosure filings, respectively.

In Florida, the county with the highest foreclosures rate in 2008 is Lee County, with around 12 percent of its residential properties receiving a foreclosure filing. The second and third counties with the highest foreclosure rates are Osceola County and Saint Lucie County, with 9.58 and 8.57 percent of their housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, respectively.

Of the total Florida foreclosures last year, Miami-Dade County accounted for the highest share, with 49,697 foreclosed units. The second is Broward County, with 47,387 filings. Lee County and Orange County is third and fourth, with 41,040 and 25,524 foreclosure filings, respectively. Fifth in the listing is Hillsborough County, with 24,165 foreclosure filings.

Among metropolitan areas in the U.S. with the highest foreclosure rates, Fort Lauderdale is sixth in the ranking, with 5.95 percent of its residential units receiving a filing. Seventh is Orlando, with 5.48 percent receiving a filing and eighth is Miami, with 5.21 percent receiving a filing. The top metropolitan area in foreclosure rate is Stockton, California, with 9.46 percent of its residential units receiving a foreclosure filing.

According to Florida housing analysts, most of Florida foreclosures in areas such as Lee County arose from delinquent mortgages taken by speculators during the housing boom years.