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Anne-Marie L. Bowen, P.A.

FORECLOSURES DECREASE ACROSS THE U.S. ...BUT NOT IN ORLANDO

RealtyTrac recently released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for February 2014 ( www.realtytrac.com/content/foreclosure-market-report/realtytrac-february-2014-US- ). RealtyTrac, which compiles data from all over the country related to foreclosures, has reported that the most recent foreclosure activity has dropped to the lowest level since December 2006. They define foreclosure filings as default notices which include notices of Lis Pendens (that's when the bank first files the foreclosure law suit), scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions.

Although foreclosures across the country are at an eight year low, Florida has the nation's highest foreclosure activity. Nine of the top ten cities are located in Florida, with Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville coming in at number 1 and Orlando at number 6. In Orlando, one in every 370 homes are in foreclosure. That's a lot!

It's easy to understand why people in Brevard county are suffering from such high foreclosure rates with the closing of the space station. And in Orlando, people are still hurting from unemployment, under-employment, and lack of equity in their homes making it impossible to sell when the market is still down and they can't afford their increased mortgage, insurance, and tax payments.

What we are seeing now is that foreclosures which have been pending for a long time (read that pending for years!), are still moving fairly slowly through the court system, although they are moving. However, for foreclosure cases filed in the last six months or so, the banks are really starting to fast track the cases and move them quickly to completion. This is getting back to the way foreclosures used to work before the housing bubble burst and there were thousands and thousands of homes that went into foreclosure at the same time. That really clogged up the system. But now the banks are moving cases at a rapid pace. I think part of that has to do with the Court taking some heat from the Legislature to clear out its dockets or risk losing funding.

When someone is at risk of falling behind in their mortgage payments, the best thing to do is seek the guidance of professionals in the early stages. Find out the best way to get through the problem early on to seek the best outcome in a bad situation.

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