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Foreclosure filings rise again in Tampa Bay area

Published Sep. 13, 2012

Foreclosures continue to bruise Tampa Bay's limping housing market, with foreclosure starts, auctions and repossessions last month growing 25 percent over August 2011.

Tampa Bay saw more than 2,000 foreclosure starts, nearly 300 more than the previous August, new data from RealtyTrac shows. Nearly 1,000 Tampa Bay homes were repossessed, twice as many as August 2011.

The lone bright spot was Hillsborough County, where foreclosure filings slid 10 percent compared to a year earlier.

All other Tampa Bay counties saw their filings spike, with Pinellas filings climbing 65 percent and Hernando's doubling in a year.

Months of court delays and the aftermath of the robo-signing scandal have drawn out banks' aggressive push to foreclose on homes deeply behind on payments.

But real-estate agents see the continued foreclosures as a stabilizing force for the housing market, clearing the logjam of distressed homes and opening them up to sale.

Though foreclosure filings have slid 15 percent nationwide over the last year, they remain an anchor in Florida, where the foreclosure rate jumped last month from third highest to second highest in the nation.

Florida saw nearly 15,000 foreclosure starts last month, a growth over August 2011 of 26 percent. Banks repossessed more than 5,000 homes, 12 percent more than last year.

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 893-8252 or dharwell@tampabay.com.

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