You Don’t Need to be a Weather Man to Know It’s Warm Outside

To simply make the declaration that “it is warm outside” can be a reckless statement, depending on your audience. A person from Orlando, FL will likely have a different definition of ‘warm’ than someone from Juneau, Alaska. You need more facts than just the air temperature to best assess the situation and make a comment that fits the scenario. Recently, RealtyTrac LLC. released its recap of U.S. foreclosures for the United States, during the 3rd quarter of 2013. The report found there were 131,232 properties indicating a default notice, scheduled auction, or bank repossession during September. On the surface, this may appear like a lot of properties, or referring back to our weather analogy, “warm”. In actuality, we need to view it in context of where the U.S. real estate and mortgage industries have been over the past few years. This number actually represents a 27% decrease from a year ago and the 36th consecutive month with decreasing foreclosure movement.

In the nation as a whole, the 131,232 foreclosure figure equated that 1 in every 348 housing units was in foreclosure during September. Let’s continue to dig a little deeper, to find out if it really is “warm”. Let’s focus on the Sunshine State – Florida. RealtyTrac calculated that 8 of the top 10 foreclosed metro areas in the U.S. are in Florida; including popular travel destinations such as Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and Pensacola. The overall foreclosure rate in Florida is more than 2.75 times greater than the national average, arriving at 1 in every 126 housing units in foreclosure. It you wanted to say that the foreclosure market in Florida was not just warm, but down right hot, you would be wrong! Foreclosures during the third quarter in Florida decreased by 8% from the prior year and down for the first quarter in the past six quarters. While Florida may still have the highest foreclosure rate, followed by Nevada and Maryland, it may have started to trend in a favorable direction. Overall, RealtyTrac found 33 states with decreased foreclosure numbers than a year ago, while the remaining states had increases. Nine of the ten metro areas with the largest percentage increase, year over year, during Q3 were in the Eastern Time zone.

Not all states handle foreclosures in the same manner. While rising real estate prices can help stem the foreclosure tide the fastest, not all states handle foreclosures in the same manner, which can also play a significant role in the speed upon which a state starts to recover from the foreclosure mess. During the third quarter, RealtyTrac found that the average time for the foreclosure process in the U.S. was 551 days, up 44%, from 382 days during the third quarter of 2012. This number varied from a low in Texas of 164 days and 185 days in Alabama to the longest being 1,037 days in New York and 1,014 in New Jersey. The lengthy increase in the average time it takes for a foreclosure to complete may lie in a combination of the increasing number of cases in the court system, the greater of number of homeowners contesting the foreclosure, or the increasing number of attorneys who now practice this legal specialization.  For more information on foreclosure trends, visit the RealtyTrac LLC website.