Bank Houses Foreclosures in South Florida Slowed in January

by on States

Bank houses foreclosures in South Florida slowed in January, based on data compiled by a Florida-based real estate firm. Analysts, however, could not say if the decline was the start of a trend or just a result of post-holiday mood.

Foreclosure filings in South Florida dropped by 7 percent in January 2010 to less than 5,800, compared to postings in January 2009. In contrast, the January 2009 filings of almost 6,200 marked a substantial increase from the January 2008 filings of 4,100.

Analysts said the Home Affordable Modification Program appeared to have made a dent on foreclosure actions in the region, as more lenders were willing to work out modified payment schemes.

Using foreclosure numbers in January, South Florida is on pace to post a total of around 69,000 residential foreclosures this year. Last January 2009, the region was on pace to post 74,000 filings, ultimately posting a much higher number of more than 97,000 filings. In 2008, a total of 76,000 filings were posted, more than twice the 33,000 bank houses foreclosures posted in 2007.

In South Florida, lenders typically carry out a costly and lengthy process to foreclose on a property. Before filing a case, they must first make sure that the borrower has been in default on at least three regular monthly payments. They usually budget a time frame of six to nine months and about $40,000 to $80,000 to complete a foreclosure.

After completing a foreclosure, lenders must also pay outstanding liens like property taxes and in case of apartment foreclosures, they must also pay past-due association dues.

In Miami-Dade, where Miami Beach, Aventura and Coral Gables are located, foreclosure postings dropped by 33 percent in January this year to around 1,400, down from the 2,050 filings posted in January 2009. During the same month in 2008, a total of 897 filings were posted in the county.

In Broward County, which encompasses Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach and Hollywood, foreclosure activity slowed down by 23 percent to about 2,250 postings, compared to around 2,900 filings in January last year.

It was in Palm Beach where foreclosure activity stepped up overwhelmingly by 76 percent to over 2,100 filings, compared to 1,206 postings in January 2009. Prospective buyers then have more opportunities for buying affordable bank houses foreclosures in the cities of West Palm Beach Delray Beach and Boca Raton, which comprise the county of Palm Beach.