Make us your home page

Tampa Bay posts nation's fourth-highest foreclosure rate in February

TAMPA — Tampa Bay posted the nation's fourth-highest foreclosure rate last month as the sludge of bad home loans continues to gum up local courts, RealtyTrac data released today show.

More than 5,000 notices of mortgage default, foreclosure auction or repossession were sent across Tampa Bay last month, a 23 percent jump over last February, data show.

For the sixth month in a row, Florida posted the nation's highest foreclosure rate — one in every 282 homes. The Sunshine State housed seven of the 10 hardest-hit cities, including Miami, Orlando and Ocala, which ranked first through third.

Much of this foreclosure flurry, attorneys said, centers on years-old defaults delayed by legal slowdowns and the "robo-signing" scandal, leaving many distressed homeowners on edge or living in their homes without making monthly mortgage payments.

Clearing the backlog, Realtors said, is key to a true recovery, as supplies of for-sale homes tighten and foreclosures drag down prices for neighboring homes. The average Florida foreclosure takes more than two years to resolve.

The flood has overwhelmed courts in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, which last month were dragged down by more than 54,000 pending foreclosures, state court data show. One Pinellas judge said this week that she was seeing cases from as far back as 2007.

Yet across the country, much of the mess from the housing bust appears to be waning. New foreclosures across the country last month dropped 25 percent from last February, data show, and nationwide bank repossessions plunged to a 65-month low.

"At a high level, the U.S. foreclosure inferno has been effectively contained," RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist said in a statement. "But dangerous foreclosure flareups are still popping up in states," especially those that have lengthy court delays.

Florida lawmakers could soon consider HB 87, a "faster foreclosures" bill sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, that would fast-track cases if lenders meet certain requirements.

But attorneys, consumer advocates and others said speeding the cases through "rocket dockets" would prevent homeowners from mounting a proper defense.

Drew Harwell can be reached at or (727) 893-8252.

Tampa Bay posts nation's fourth-highest foreclosure rate in February 03/13/13 [Last modified: Thursday, March 14, 2013 12:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]
  2. Lockdown: Florida's 97,000 prison inmates confined through weekend

    State Roundup

    All of Florida's 97,000 state prison inmates are on lockdown — and will remain confined to their dorms at least through the weekend — in response to unspecified threats about possible uprisings, officials from the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday.

    Blackwater River Correctional Facility. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  3. Carnival announces five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba


    TAMPA — Carnival Cruise Line is adding five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba in 2018, Port Tampa Bay announced Thursday.

      Carnival Cruise Line announced additional cruises to  Cuba. Pictured is its Paradise cruise ship departing on its inaugural voyage to Cuba from Tampa. | [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  4. Engage Behavioral Health expands into Wesley Chapel


    On Aug. 5, Engage Behavioral Health celebrated the grand opening of a new clinic in Wesley Chapel.

    hillsevbiz081117: Jennifer Phelps is the CEO & Founder of Engage Behavioral Health. Photo courtesy of Engage Behavioral Health.
  5. Former owner of Sirata Beach Resort purchases two Tampa Bay shopping centers

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — After selling the Sirata Beach Resort and Conference in February, Nicklaus of Florida, Inc., has purchased two Tampa Bay shopping centers to diversify the firm's portfolio in the area. Colliers International, representing the sellers, announced the transaction this week.

    Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center, one of Tampa Bay's last family-owned beach hotels, was sold to a Texas-based company, Crescent Real Estate LLC for $108.19 million. [LARA CERRI | Times]