Foreclosure Hangover in SWFL? Study Says “Yes”

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Though both the rate and number of foreclosure filings in Southwest Florida have dropped dramatically since the recession, a recent report shows the the market of property Cape Coral still suffers its aftereffects.

While the year-end report by California-based RealtyTrac showed both Naples-Marco Island and Cape Coral-Fort Myers had improving metrics since the foreclosure crisis reached its regional peak in 2009, neither area is bouncing back as quite as quickly as the country as a whole, though their performance outpaces the state average.

The report showed that in the Naples-Marco Island metropolitan statistical area, the number of foreclosure filings fell to 1.06 percent of all housing units, or 2,092 homes, in 2014. In 2009, 6.38 percent of all housing units, or 12,251 homes, were in some stage of foreclosure.

While foreclosures usually are found in the lower end of the market, currently they’re found in all price points. But because the percentage of homes in foreclosure is much smaller than it was during the recession, the banks and other institutions that own them can command market prices.

In Cape Coral-Fort Myers, 1.72 percent of all homes (including lots and land for sale), or 6,393 units, were in foreclosure in 2014. Five years earlier, 11.87 percent of all housing units, or 42,734 homes, had foreclosure filings. While the percentage of homes in foreclosure is relatively small, both Naples-Marco Island and Cape Coral-Fort Myers have a greater percentage in foreclosure than the country as a whole.

Nationally, only .85 percent of all housing units, or about 1.1 million homes, had foreclosure filings last year. That’s compared with 2.21 percent of all housing units, representing roughly 2.8 million homes, in 2009. Looked at another way, one in 118 housing units in the United States was in foreclosure last year, RealtyTrac said. By comparison, Southwest Florida fared worse. Out of 212 metro areas the company tracks nationwide, Cape Coral-Fort Myers ranked 15th, with one out of 58 housing units in foreclosure.

That’s because banks, which had been holding out for higher home prices before selling the homes they had repossessed, are finally clearing out their inventories. Naples-Marco Island saw one in 94 units in foreclosure, and was 49th on the list of metro areas nationwide. Naples’ numbers are lower because there was never as much backlog of homes as there was in Cape Coral-Fort Myers.

While both metro areas ranked relatively high nationally in terms of foreclosure rates, they ranked low compared to other places in the state. Naples-Marco Island had the lowest foreclosure rate of all the metro areas listed in Florida. But Florida tops all other states in terms of foreclosure rates, with one out of every 44 housing units in foreclosure, or 206,247 homes. That’s 2.3 percent of the roughly 9 million housing units in the state. In 2009, Florida had 516,711 foreclosure filings, representing 5.93 percent of the housing stock.

While overall, foreclosures still haven’t reached historically normal levels, the overall picture is improving. Florida’s foreclosure filings were down by 24 percent in 2014 from 2013.

Nationally, they dropped 18 percent. Over the same period, Naples-Marco Island’s filings fell 44 percent and Cape Coral-Fort Myers dropped 20 percent. The shrinking numbers are signs that rapidly rising home prices are making it easier for some owners to avoid foreclosure.

To learn more about the current state of real estate in the SWFL region, contact an expert member of the Gratia Group team at (239) 333-2221.

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