For nearly seven years now, two major counties in southwest Florida have had some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. Finally, the home foreclosure rate in those two counties has dropped below 2 percent. There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel for many homeowners in these areas who have watched their neighbors lose their homes.
Along with the drop in foreclosure filings, the number of short sales in the area has become practically nonexistent. November 2015 saw a nearly 55 percent decline in distressed homes sales and an almost 38 percent drop in sales of distressed condominiums. Now, lenders who are in possession of foreclosed homes could be getting ready to put those houses on the market. Like many people in the area, they could be waiting for the snowbirds to come back to the state to begin actively marketing their inventory.
One source in the Sarasota-Manatee area credits some of the decline to well-informed homeowners who are taking the time to research their options in order to avoid foreclosure. This sometimes involves filing for bankruptcy in order to keep their homes. Others are looking to discharge mortgage loan deficiencies from short sales or other unsecured liens held by lenders. However, even bankruptcy filings were down in Oct. 2015 from the same time in 2014.
All of this might be good news for the area, but that does not mean that there are not still many homeowners in the area, or in the rest of Florida for that matter, who are still struggling to avoid home foreclosure. Bankruptcy may also be a viable option for those homeowners as well. The housing market crash and the recession that followed have taken a heavy toll on the state’s residents, and many of them want the chance to start fresh financially.
Source: heraldtribune.com, “Foreclosure rate below 2 percent“, John Hielscher, Dec. 31, 2015