RealtyTrac’s latest ranking of states based on foreclosure activity in May puts Florida at the top of the list.
According to RealtyTrac figures, foreclosure filings increased to one-in-every-302 houses, nearly triple the national average. Foreclosure starts jumped 39 percent, the number of auctions went up 6 percent and bank repossessions increased 14 percent.
Taken together, that amounts to a 20 percent increase in foreclosure activity, which is all it took for Florida to go from being #2 in April to #1 in May.
RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist says the numbers make Florida’s housing market look like it’s in pretty bad shape when, in fact, it’s on the mend.
"They’re not foreclosures that are happening because the housing market is worsening, they’re foreclosures that are happening because of a bad housing market two to three years ago, "said Blomquist. "And so you do have this mix of distress happening even as we’re seeing home prices and sales increase in Florida at the same time."
Blomquist says another reason for the increased foreclosure activity is that a lot of these properties have been bottled up in the courts and are just now getting past the legal log jam.
Of the 10 U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates, the top three are Miami, Jacksonville and Tampa.
Blomquist says the factors that landed Florida at the top of the state foreclosure rankings also hold true for Jacksonville and the five other Florida metro areas that found themselves on the top 10 list of cities with the most foreclosure activity last month.
RealtyTrac monitors property trends and transactions around the U.S.