Miami Foreclosure Homes – Load for Courts, Gold for Buyers

by Peter Vernon on cities

More Miami foreclosure homes mean more loads of work for the courts, but for real estate investors, these foreclosures are gold mines to be explored.

In Miami-Dade County, foreclosure cases are literally heavy loads as the piles of foreclosure documents on the 7th floor of a municipal building on W. Flagler Street keep growing to heights beyond reach.

According to county officials, it took eight months for employees to transfer the foreclosure documents from where they were formerly stored in another municipal building. Last February, the transfer was finally completed and the piles had some semblance of order, but as more filings arrive, the piles are again getting unruly.

According to Harvey Ruvin, clerk of court for Miami-Dade County, since the housing crisis began, about 8,000 foreclosure filings were being submitted to the county every month. Currently, he said, the county has 125,000 open foreclosure files and the piles of documents keep growing.

While foreclosure postings in other large metro areas were declining over the past two months, delinquencies and foreclosures in the Miami area kept surging. In February, foreclosure filings soared by a stunning 44-percent surge from January to 6,671 filings. According to local realtors, there are currently 40,598 Miami foreclosure homes available for prospective buyers and investors buying foreclosed houses for sale.

Florida foreclosures also surged in February. While other foreclosure-clobbered states like Arizona and California experienced slowdowns, Florida posted a 15-percent jump from January levels and a 17-percent rise from February 2009 levels.

In February, more than 54,000 Florida households were notified they are delinquent, with many of them informed their houses are already in foreclosure. With one house out of every 163 housing units in delinquency or in foreclosure, Florida ranked third behind Nevada and Arizona based on pace of foreclosure.

In addition to the bleak unemployment situation, Florida was hit hard by the foreclosure crisis because of high levels of overbuilding and real estate speculation throughout the state, particularly in cities and beachfront communities where lots of condo complexes were developed.

One recent condo foreclosure action even involved the county of Miami-Dade. Capital Loft filed a foreclosure suit against the county and the owner of the 117 NE housing project. The developer owed $26.4 million to Capital Loft and $1 million to the county. The 47 unsold housing units in this project could enter listings of Miami foreclosure homes if the developer could not work out another option with Capital Loft.

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