January 8, 2013

Improving U.S. Housing Markets

In the latest sign of a housing recovery in U.S. housing markets, the number of metropolitan areas on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) rose for a fifth consecutive month to 242 in January for a net gain of 41, more than the number of improving markets one month earlier.

Florida’s improving markets in January include Cape Coral, Deltona, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Miami, Naples, North Port, Ocala, Orlando, Palm Bay, Panama City, Pensacola, Punta Gorda and Tallahassee.

Overall, five markets dropped off the list in January because at least one month showed at least a slight decline in market improvement. In Florida, Sebastian and Crestview lost their improving status.

242 out of 361 metros nationwide (67 percent) appear on that list, including representatives from almost every state in the country. The story is no longer about exceptions to the rule, but about the growing breadth of the housing recovery even as overly strict mortgage requirements hold back the pace of improvement.

For more information on the IMI click HERE


South Florida Foreclosure Filings Poised To Top 350,000 Since 2007


According to a new report from CondoVultures.com, a recent surge in foreclosure filings in 2012 pushed South Florida to the brink of surpassing the threshold of 350,000 notices of default being initiated since the real estate crash began in 2007.

Lenders filed nearly 14,700 foreclosure actions in the tricounty region stretching from Miami north to West Palm Beach in the fourth quarter of 2012, representing a 41 percent surge in filings on a year-over-year basis compared to the same October through December period in 2011.

For the year, lenders filed more than 50,300 notices of default in the 12 months of 2012 in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties after filing less than 34,100 actions during the same January through December period in 2011.

Despite the spike in South Florida foreclosure actions, the 2012 total number of filings initiated in the region is down compared to the same 12-month period in previous years when more than 57,600 actions were filed in 2010 and nearly 98,300 actions were filed in 2009.

Many are blaming the administrative irregularities caused by “robo-signing”.  The problems caused during the repossession process first surfaced in late September 2010, creating a “foreclosure freeze” that prompted many lenders to slow the number of defaults being initiated against borrowers in South Florida between October and December 2010 compared to the same three-month period in 2009.

The slowdown in the foreclosure filing process continued throughout 2011.

In February 2012, the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers reached an agreement with the federal government and the attorneys general from 49 states to provide at least $25 billion in relief to borrowers.

The settlement agreement incentivizes the mortgage services to consider various options – including principal reductions, mortgage modifications, and short sales before filing to foreclose on borrowers who owe more than their residences are worth currently.

Posted by Scott R. Lodde

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