Florida foreclosure activity plummeted 42 percent last month, but the news still isn't good for the housing market.
The drop was expected.
The nation got a reprieve as several major banks temporarily ceased most or all foreclosures in the past few months amid allegations that thousands of documents were signed improperly, according to a RealtyTrac report released today.
The researcher attributed the decrease to fallout from the robo-signing mess along with an expected seasonal dip. The decrease isn't permanent, and the numbers should rise again in the first quarter of 2011.
"It's primarily the result of lenders stopping their foreclosures while they re-evaluate the processes they use," said RealtyTrac spokesman Daren Blomquist. "It's slowing everything down. Lenders are being more cautious."
Nationally, fewer than 300,000 properties received a foreclosure notice for the first time since February 2009, a 21 percent month-over-month decrease.
The decline was the biggest recorded since RealtyTrac began publishing the U.S. Foreclosure Report in January 2005.
But Sean Snaith, a University of Central Florida economist, said the outlook will not improve in Florida until more jobs are created.
"The housing market is responsible for the economy," he said. "The primary driver is the labor market."
Although numbers dropped across the Sunshine State, Florida still recorded the second-most foreclosure filings in the country with 32,938. But only one Florida metro area ranked near the top — Port St. Lucie placed 10th with one in every 173 homes receiving a foreclosure filing in the last month, the report said.
Nevada had the nation's highest foreclosure rate for the 47th straight month.
Mark Puente can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8459.