Good news: Tampa Bay no longer a major foreclosure capital of the country

As bay area home prices and values continue to rise, Tampa Bay drops to 28th in foreclosure filings among major metro areas whereas just a few years ago it frequently ranked second or third. 

A few short years ago, Tampa Bay was a national hub for foreclosures. Not any more. [Getty Images/iStockphoto]
A few short years ago, Tampa Bay was a national hub for foreclosures. Not any more. [Getty Images/iStockphoto]
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Once in the top five nationally for foreclosure filings, the Tampa Bay area no longer makes even the top 25.

As bay area home prices and values continue to rise, the number of homes in foreclosure plunged 42 percent in the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2016, ATTOM Data Solutions reported today.

As of June 30, Pinellas had the fewest percentage of homes in some stage of foreclosure — one in every 276. That was followed by Hernando (one in 203), Hillsborough (one in 179) and Pasco (one in 178).

That showing was good enough to drop Tampa Bay to 28th in foreclosure filings among major metro areas whereas just a few years ago it frequently ranked second or third. And it comes as filings nationwide are down 20 percent from a year ago.

"With a few local market exceptions, foreclosures have become the unicorns of the housing market — hard to find but highly sought after,'' said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of ATTOM, the parent company of RealtyTrac.

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Blomquist noted that 38 percent of all homes sold at U.S. foreclosure auctions now are bought by third-party bidders — typically investors — instead of going back to the bank. That's the highest percentage since data became available in 2000 and is a sign of a healthier economy.

Nationwide, one in every 311 homes was in some stage of foreclosure in the first half of this year with New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Illinois and Connecticut having the highest foreclosure rates. Florida, once ranked No. 1, dropped to seventh .

Florida is still among the top five states in the length of time it takes to foreclose.

Nationally, homes foreclosed in the second quarter of this year took an average of 883 days from the first public foreclosure notice, known as a lis pendens, to complete the foreclosure process.

For Florida homes foreclosed during the quarter, the process took 1,203 days. Other states with long lag times were New Jersey (1,347 days), Indiana (1,259 days), New York (1,255 days) and Illinois (1,059 days),

Virginia, by comparison, was unusually speedy — a borrower there who didn't contest foreclosure could be out of the house in just 176 days.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate

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