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Florida Foreclosures Rank No. 1 in U.S.

The number of Florida foreclosures in January pushed us into the No. 1 slot in the nation – higher than even the much-bigger California.

That’s according to the latest figures from RealtyTrac. Our Miami foreclosure lawyers know there are a great many more desirable things for which we would want to be in the top slot.

Yet here we are.

We’ve always ranked somewhere on the top for foreclosures, ever since the housing bubble burst back in 2007. In fact, many media outlets coined Florida “ground zero” with regard to the foreclosure crisis. But we were never actually in the top spot – until now.

January actually marks the first time since the beginning of 2007 that California wasn’t ranked first.

Specifically the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach areas were among the worst, ranking second in the country for foreclosure activity. Specifically, one in ever 228 homes had received some type of foreclosure filing that month. Statewide, one out of every 300 homes received a foreclosure filing in January. That’s double what the average is nationwide, RealtyTrac reports.

What’s worse, this trend shows no signs of slowing. Our state foreclosure filings (which would include scheduled auctions, bank repossessions and default notices) shot up by about 12 percent from where we were in December. From a year ago, we’re up 20 percent.

In comparing city-to-city figures, five of Florida’s major metro areas – not including Miami! – ranked in the top 10 in the country in the first month of this year.

  • Ocala ranked No. 1, with one out of every 223 homes receiving a foreclosure filing;
  • Orlando ranked No. 3, with one out of every 241 homes receiving a foreclosure filing;
  • Jacksonville ranked No. 8, with one out of every 301 homes receiving a foreclosure filing;
  • Tampa ranked No. 9, with one out of every 307 homes receiving a foreclosure filing;
  • Lakeland ranked No. 10, with one out of every 332 homes receiving a foreclosure filing.

The fact that we’re seeing this spike as the rest of the country is beginning to see foreclosure cases taper off (nationwide, foreclosures are down 7 percent from December to January and a nearly 30 percent drop from what we saw a year ago) is partially a symptom of the way we process foreclosure cases in Florida. Our court system uses hearings, as opposed to administrative proceedings, and we inevitably spend more time wading through them.

The other reason we moved to the top spot was that California legislators recently took some drastic measures to reduce the number of foreclosures in that state. Namely, there was the creation of a homeowners’ “bill of rights,” and it has significantly cut down on the number of foreclosures being filed there. Per the state’s department of justice and office of the attorney general, homeowners have a right to:

  • Restriction on dual track foreclosures;
  • A guaranteed single point of contact from the bank;
  • Verification of documents;
  • Enforceability to seek redress from material violations in the foreclosure process.

Additionally, the attorney general extended the statute of limitation to criminally prosecute mortgage-related crimes from one year to three years.

Banks have apparently begun to pay attention to this. Perhaps our lawmakers could take a page out of California’s playbook.

If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Legal for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Mortgage Wars,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.

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