Economists long predicted that May would be rough for foreclosures because of all the adjustable-rate mortgages due to reset.
Numbers released Friday by RealtyTrac bear out at least part of that dire prediction.
While Tampa Bay area foreclosure filings in May totaled 4,773 — third to the 5,904 in August and 4,787 in September — the year-over-year increase in mortgage defaults was smaller than it has been for months.
Foreclosures increased 29 percent from May 2007 to May 2008. Compare that to the 120 percent rise from April 2007 to April 2008 and the 93 percent jump from March to March.
By counting multiple foreclosure filings on single properties, RealtyTrac tends to exaggerate mortgage defaults. And only 1,100 of the 4,773 local cases in May involved imminent confiscation of a home. Most of the rest represented homeowners several months behind on mortgage payments. The Tampa Bay area reported one of every 271 households in some stage of foreclosure. That's better than the state average of one for every 228 households. Worst hit were Cape Coral-Fort Myers and Port St. Lucie-Fort Pierce, which placed in the top 10 nationally. The Tampa Bay area ranked 35th.