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South Florida Foreclosures Higher In 2012 Than In 2011

SOUTH FLORIDA (CBSMiami) – While South Florida's economy as a whole is recovering, the housing market is doing the opposite.

In fact, at the current pace, the region could exceed 200,000 foreclosure-related repossessions in the first quarter. To reverse that pace and return to pre-recession levels, the number of repossessions would need to drop by 350% to below 10,000 – about how many properties were seized in 2007.

Lenders repossessed - or used the state courts to force the foreclosure sales of - about 1 percent more properties in 2012 than in 2011, according to a Condo Vultures report cited in the South Florida Business Journal.

More specifically, lenders and condo associations forced a change in ownership of about 35,400 properties in 2012, 34,900 repossessions in the same period in 2011 and about 54,400 repossessions in 2010.

Of course, fewer properties were repossessed during the start of the recession, as homeowners scrimped and saved in an effort to save their homes; South Florida lenders repossessed nearly 30,500 properties in 2009 and about 26,250 properties in 2008.

"Going forward, the unanswered question is whether lenders - some of which are operating under the recently negotiated National Mortgage Settlement Agreement - will continue to focus on finding alternative solutions such as shortsales and mortgage modifications to the foreclosure process for borrowers who are in default," said Peter Zalewski, a principal of Miami-based Condo Vultures.

Distressed properties - bank-owned units and shortsales - represent about 14 percent of the nearly 19,400 condos and townhouses on the resale market in South Florida as of Jan. 10.

As of Jan. 10, about 1,100 bank-owned South Florida condo and townhouse units are on the resale market at a median asking price of about $85 per square foot in the tri-county area.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The South Florida Business Journal contributed to this report.)


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