Florida’s housing market soared faster and higher than other national markets during the speculative housing boom of 2004 and 2005. Florida also crashed harder than the rest of the nation — and according to a Bloomberg report, Florida is the slowest to emerge from the resulting doldrums (“Florida Defies Housing Rebound as Foreclosures Soar,” by Dan Levy).
One reason: It takes far longer to process a foreclosure in Florida, where court action is required on each bank reposession, than in other states where foreclosure is a strictly administrative process. “It took an average 853 days in Florida to complete a foreclosure in the fourth quarter, the third-longest behind New York and New Jersey,” the Bloomberg report says.
But a report in The Miami Herald downplays the significance of the 2012 surge in foreclosures (“Florida Led Nation in 2012 Foreclosure Activity,” by Martha Brannigan). According to the Herald, 2012’s high home seizure rate comes after an artificially depressed rate of foreclosures in 2011, when the “robo-signing” scandal brought foreclosure activity to a temporary standstill. “Much of the rising foreclosure activity represents loans that soured a long time ago, rather than a major new round of defaults,” the paper reports.
And real estate agents say that they don’t expect the increased flow of foreclosure sales to dampen the Florida housing market much. There’s a supply of “shadow buyers” waiting in the wings to snap up that “shadow inventory,” one estate agent told the Herald. “A lot of investors are buying at the courthouse,” said another.
And the new foreclosures will take months to come to market, reported the Orlando Sentinel (“Florida, Orlando See Dismal Foreclosure Rankings Again,” by Mary Shanklin). John Tuccillo, chief economist for Florida Realtors, told the Sentinel that “Florida's court-based foreclosures have been taking so long that properties going through the process now will not be listed for sale for months or years.”