Two of the nation's leading real estate analytics groups, CoreLogic and RealtyTrac, have released reports over the last month examining the state of the U.S. housing market as it pertains to such factors as completed foreclosures, foreclosure inventory and underwater mortgages.
In particular, these reports made some rather interesting findings concerning the state of the housing market across Florida, and here in the tri-county region.
As far as the number of completed foreclosures is concerned, the CoreLogic report found that while they fell by 10 percent across the U.S. during the 12-month period ending in February 2016, they nevertheless remained high in the Sunshine State.
Indeed, mortgage lenders completed 71,644 foreclosures in Florida during the applicable timeframe, a 37 percent drop from the previous year, but still good for 15 percent of total foreclosures in the U.S.
Regarding the foreclosure inventory, meaning those homes in some stage of the foreclosure process, the CoreLogic Report determined that it diminished by 24 percent nationally and currently sits at 1.1 percent. Conversely, Florida's foreclosure inventory was found to have diminished -- by 3.4 percent -- but still rank fourth highest in the nation at 2.2 percent.
As far as the RealtyTrac report is concerned, it found that during the first quarter of 2016, roughly 280,000 homeowners -- or 18.5 percent of all homeowners -- in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties were "seriously underwater" on their mortgages, meaning they owe the mortgage lender at least 25 percent more than the property is actually worth.
Overall, South Florida came in at 14th place out of more than 100 metro areas across the U.S. in terms of percentage of underwater mortgages.
According to RealtyTrac, the majority of these underwater South Florida homeowners either purchased or refinanced their homes sometime from 2004 to 2006 when real estate prices were at their peak and, more significantly, just before the market crashed.
These reports clearly show that we're still experiencing fallout from the recession. Still, it's imperative for struggling homeowners not to lose hope and to understand that they are not without options for protecting their home.