While the past few years of reports on the state of the housing market here in South Florida, particularly as it relates to foreclosures, have shown remarkably steady improvement, many in the industry have remained understandably unconvinced that this trend would endure.
However, a recently released report by California-based analytics firm ATTOM Data Solutions shows that it may finally be time for these remaining skeptics to let go of their doubts. Indeed, it classifies the region’s foreclosure market as being “tantalizingly close to normal.”
According to the report, lenders filed 12,862 new foreclosure cases in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties in 2016, a seven percent drop from the 13,765 new cases filed in 2015 and the lowest level since data collection began in earnest in 2006.
To put things in perspective, consider that the record number of new cases was 133,250 filings in 2009.
According to the ATTOM report, even though improving home prices and improved economic conditions have helped greatly reduce the number of foreclosures, there are a few areas of concern:
- South Florida still holds the dubious distinction of being the region with the 10th highest foreclosure rate at 1.3 percent (less than one percent is considered normal).
- The timeline for foreclosure is continuing to rise, reaching an average of 1,186 days at the end of 2016, meaning that lenders are now seeking to move older cases through the courts.
- A recent and controversial decision by the Florida Supreme Court may prompt lenders to become more aggressive in resolving foreclosure cases involving so-called legacy loans, meaning mortgages dating from 2004 to 2008.
Despite these concerns, experts are forecasting that this return to normal is likely going to be the reality for quite some time, meaning it might finally be safe to call South Florida’s housing market stable.
Please remember to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your options for stopping foreclosure and securing a fresh start if you are experiencing serious financial problems.