After dropping one level to become the nation's No. 2 state for foreclosures in October, Florida retook the No. 1 position last month, according to RealtyTrac's U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for November 2014.
Even though Florida ranked first, however, its foreclosure problems are easing.
The state had a 4 percent month-to-month decrease in foreclosure activity, and a 15 percent year-to-year decrease. That improvement, however, wasn't enough to keep the state from having the highest foreclosure rate in the country – one in every 462 housing units with a foreclosure filing. Florida has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 13 out of the last 14 consecutive months.
Atlantic City, New Jersey, had the nation's top metro foreclosure rate in a comparison of metro areas (one in every 289 housing units), but Florida cities landed in eight of the top 10 spots. At No. 2, Miami's foreclosure rate (one in every 394 housing units) ranked second highest, though that's a drop from the No. 1 spot a month earlier, thanks in part to a 22 percent year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity.
"South Florida is in the fourth quarter with our distressed real estate," says Mike Pappas, CEO and president of the Keyes Company in South Florida. "It's encouraging to see a 22 percent overall decline in our region."
The remaining seven Florida metro areas with foreclosure rates in the top 10 highest were Jacksonville at No. 3 (one in every 395 housing units), Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville at No. 4 (one in every 399 housing units), Orlando at No. 5 (one in every 408 housing units), Pensacola at No. 6 (one in every 428 housing units), Tampa at No. 7 (one in every 432 housing units), Lakeland at No. 9 (one in every 461 housing units) and Ocala at No. 10 (one in every 489 housing units).
Both Lakeland (up 67 percent) and Pensacola (up 66 percent) had a year-to-year increase in foreclosure activity,
National foreclosure rates
Nationally, foreclosure filings – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – decreased 9 percent month-to-month and 1 percent year-to-year, marking the 50th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in overall foreclosure activity. One in every 1,170 U.S. housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month.
The nation had 55,906 U.S. properties enter the foreclosure process in November, a decrease of 1 percent month-to-month, but a 6 percent increase year-to-year. It's the first year-to-year increase after 27 consecutive months of year-over-year decreases.
The number of properties scheduled for a foreclosure auction dropped 16 percent month-to-month, but it rose 5 percent year-to-year.
"The housing market is struggling to find the new normal when it comes to a tolerable level of foreclosure activity in this post-Great Recession economy," says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "Finding that new normal requires striking a balance between too much loan risk – which would result in another housing meltdown – and too little risk, which could result in a stunted recovery."
To see Florida county foreclosure information, visit RealtyTrac's website for an interactive graphic.