South Florida Still Has One of the Highest Foreclosure Rates in the Country
Thanks in part to a strengthened economy and more stringent underwriting standards, the rate of foreclosures in the United States decreased in 2015. In the yearly report released by RealtyTrac, 1.1 million homes went into foreclosure last year, down 3 percent from 2014.
Overall, this is an encouraging sign in a housing market that saw nearly 3 million foreclosures just five years ago. While the nation as a whole is seeing a decrease in the number of homes being repossessed, some areas aren’t as quick to recover as others.
The South Florida Housing Market
Like the rest of the United States, foreclosure filings were down in South Florida in 2015. The metro area, comprised of Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties, saw 13,765 new cases last year which was a notable 29 percent decrease from 2014.
Considering that, a decade ago, when housing prices started to plummet, South Florida had more than 4,000 filings each month, the results of the 2015 study indicate great progress. Even still, the area was still ranked as one of the top 5 regions across the U.S. for the highest foreclosure rates.
How Low Will Foreclosure Rates Go?
Time will tell just how low foreclosure rates will continue to drop over the next couple of years. An improved economy has had a positive impact on the housing market, but others factors have been helpful in lowering the number of nationwide foreclosures, too.
Mortgage lenders are setting much stricter standards for borrowers than what they were ten years ago. This helps eliminate the likelihood of troubled borrowers from getting into mortgages that they are unable to keep up with.
Another factor contributing to lower foreclosure rates may be that lenders are choosing not to initiate foreclosure proceedings as often as they had been in the past. Instead, loans in default are being sold to investors who often give homeowners the opportunity to stay in their homes with much lower monthly payments.
Many borrowers may also be turning to foreclosure attorneys for help in saving their homes. While not a guarantee of avoiding foreclosure, an attorney can discuss a homeowner’s options and advise them on what rights they have as a borrower.
Why is South Florida Still Struggling?
There may be a number of reasons South Florida hasn’t bounced back from the housing crisis as fast as other regions. For one, the tri-county area has one of the highest populations of metropolitan areas in the country – more houses can translate to higher instances of foreclosures.
Another reason South Florida homeowners may be more susceptible to foreclosure is the areas’ unemployment rate combined with the median housing price. The 5.5 percent of the area’s residents who are unemployed and living in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country may contribute to a higher rate of foreclosures in the area.
Even though South Florida currently has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, plenty of progress has been made over the last five years. With better lending practices in place and savvy homeowners turning to foreclosure attorneys for help, the tri-county area continues to make great improvements since the devastating 2008 housing market collapse.