Florida posted the country's highest foreclosure rate in January for the fifth month in a row, as years of bad loans continued to blast through the pipeline, data released Thursday by research firm RealtyTrac show.
One of every 300 Florida homes received a foreclosure filing, double the national average. Those notices indicate a home loan was delinquent, the home faced an auction or was being repossessed.
Florida also tallied the highest total number of foreclosure filings last month, beating California, which just launched a package of tough laws penalizing foreclosure abuses.
Six of the 10 worst local foreclosure rates were in Florida, including Tampa Bay, which landed at No. 9, between Jacksonville and Lakeland. Ocala was No. 1, Miami was No. 2 and Orlando was No. 3.
More than 4,300 foreclosure cases were filed in Tampa Bay last month, up from just over 3,100 in January 2012, data show. About 1,200 Tampa Bay homes were just entering the foreclosure process. An additional 1,400 homes were ending the process, repossessed by banks.