Foreclosures Tell Story of Recovery, Recession

Foreclosures are falling fast in Southwest Florida and the rest of the state.

And more good news: Most of today’s foreclosures are on loans made before the bust, not loans made in recent years. That’s according to a recent report released by ATTOM Data Solutions.

The review of foreclosure activity for the first six months of 2017 shows steady declines in Florida, while eight states have seen such activity rise.

Those in this region eight or 10 years ago remember bleaker days, while newcomers may not grasp the depth of the region’s doldrums.

A refresher: monthly foreclosures in Lee County bottomed out in October 2005, when 127 were filed. That was near the end of the boom. They reached a high of 2,665 in October 2008, when the county represented one of the nation’s “foreclosure capitals.”

Experts say another real estate bust is unlikely

Fast-forward to today. The numbers pale in comparison, though they may be higher than readers might expect.

Filings from the first six months of the year: 1,632 in Lee, down 31 percent compared to the same period a year ago; 435 in Collier, down 32 percent; 392 in Charlotte, down 44 percent. The nation tallied 428,400, down almost 20 percent.

The latest data from ATTOM, curator of a large multi-sourced property database, shows a total of 428,400 properties nationwide with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions — in the first half of the year. That’s down 20 percent from the same time a year ago.

Florida registered 41,854 foreclosure filings in the first six months of the year, down 33 percent from a year ago. Despite the drop in foreclosures over the years, the state is still tops in the nation, representing almost 10 percent of the country’s filings.

However, eight states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Montana, Louisiana, Connecticut, New Jersey) and the District of Columbia posted a year-over-year increase in such activity.

Foreclosures in Lee lowest since 2006

The state and this region’s three largest counties are on track for the year to be below the 1 percent benchmark, meaning fewer than one in 100 properties with a foreclosure filing.

“Legacy loans,” those originating between 2004 and 2008, account for 56 percent of Florida’s foreclosure filings during the first six months of the year. In contrast, foreclosure rates on loans originating from 2009 to present are “extremely low.”

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