Florida led the nation in foreclosure filings during June, though Orlando experienced a decline in activity compared with a year earlier, a new report shows. “There is an indication that the shadow inventory is still there, but there is also an indication that the courts in Florida are slowly but surely working through the shadow inventory,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.
Comparing June with the month before, both the state and the nation experienced double-digit percentage declines in the number of houses entering foreclosure. Altogether, foreclosure starts last month fell in 38 states, including Nevada, down 84 percent; Colorado, down 62 percent; New Jersey, down 40 percent; Illinois, down 39 percent; and Florida, down 26 percent.
“We definitely noticed that the foreclosure starts, after surging last year and earlier this year, are starting to taper off in Florida,” Blomquist said.
Despite the slowing of houses just entering the process, Orlando and Florida remain far more troubled by foreclosures than the rest of the country. Orlando had one foreclosure legal action filed for every 421 houses in June, while Florida had one for every 355 houses. Those rates were double the nationwide rate.
The foreclosure process in Florida, which can take years, has gotten only longer, even though fewer houses are being foreclosed on by lenders. In June, the entire process in Florida took on average a record 907 days — one of the longest terms in the country, trailing only New York and New Jersey.
Fewer U.S. homes entered the foreclosure process or were repossessed by banks in June, the latest sign that the nation is shaking off its housing bust hangover.
Lenders initiated the foreclosure process on 57,286 homes last month, the lowest level for any month in 7.5 years, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.
Foreclosure starts are on pace to reach roughly 800,000 this year, down from 1.1 million last year, the firm said.
Completed foreclosures, when the lender repossesses a home, are on track to hit a half-million, or about a quarter below last year's total.
The trend comes as the U.S. housing recovery continues to gain strength, propelled by steady job gains, low interest rates, improving consumer confidence and growing demand for homes at a time when there's a thin supply of available homes for sale in many markets.
That's helped boost home prices, which jumped 12.2% in May from a year earlier — the biggest gain in seven years, according to data provider CoreLogic.
Even so, foreclosures remain a potential drag on housing in many states, including Florida, Nevada, Illinois and Ohio.