Friday, April 20, 2018
Business

Tampa Bay area foreclosure filings jump up in July

Tampa Bay is still pumping out new foreclosures at a rapid pace, another sign that the housing recovery remains a work in progress.

Hillsborough and Pasco counties last month saw nearly twice as many foreclosure filings as July 2011, according to a RealtyTrac report released today.

Pinellas foreclosure filings last month also climbed, nearly 80 percent year-over-year.

Though foreclosure filings have sunk across the country, Florida remains a hot spot for delinquent mortgages and lost homes.

The state's foreclosure rate last month was third highest behind California and Arizona, with 25,000 properties statewide seeing a filing, the report states.

The filings, which include notices of default, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, each mark a step in the foreclosure process, lenders' last resort for homeowners unable to pay their mortgages.

But real-estate agents say the filings could hack away at banks' large backlog of distressed homes, opening up listings for wanting buyers and helping neighborhoods return to normal.

"It's just part of the process," said Steve Capen, a Keller Williams agent who specializes in short sales. "That 'shadow inventory' of pending foreclosures is out there, and it needs to be worked through the system."

Blocked by the robo-signing scandal or log jammed in court, banks have sat for years on swaths of properties tied to defaulted loans. That allowed some homeowners to skip months of mortgage payments while still avoiding eviction.

But agents said lenders are renewing their push to foreclose as buyers' demand heats up and strains the availability of listed homes.

In Pinellas and Hillsborough, the number of homes for sale dropped to about a three-month inventory, half the level of a healthy market, according to statistics from Pinellas and Greater Tampa Realtor groups.

"The banks are getting a little more aggressive as far as trying to push those foreclosures through a little bit quicker," said Tony Delgado, a real-estate agent with RE/MAX Bay to Bay. "As quickly as they come on the market, they're gone."

RealtyTrac is one of several agencies tracking foreclosures, and market watchers have questioned the group's calculations. But most agree that foreclosures remain a weight around the economy's neck.

"It's like there's a bucket, but there's no bottom on the bucket. No matter how many get concluded, there's more every month," St. Petersburg foreclosure defense attorney Matt Weidner said.

"We're in a vicious, endless cycle," he said. "More foreclosures are not the solution to the foreclosure crisis."

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 893-8252 or [email protected]

Comments
Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

When Samantha Hess’s marriage ended five years ago, she felt she was lacking a basic human need: Physical touch. As a woman in her late 20s living in Portland, Oregon, she found plenty of men interested in dating, but sexual contact was not what she ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. Those were among the prelim...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Times staffThe greater Brandon area will celebrate the grand opening of its second Goodwill store beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday (April 28) at 1407 U.S. 301. The new store will add another 12,000 square feet to the complex, which includes a 200,000-...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading year-over-ye...
Published: 04/20/18
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Published: 04/20/18
SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

Associated PressNEW YORK — SunTrust Banks Inc. says accounts for 1.5 million clients could be compromised following a potential data breach. The Atlanta bank says that it became aware of the potential theft by a former employee and that the investiga...
Published: 04/20/18
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18