Record numbers of Florida foreclosures put the state second in number of filings and third in foreclosure pace among all states in 2009, based on data from a California real estate information provider.

Florida also topped the second funding round of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program of the Housing and Urban Development Department in total amount received, getting a total of $348.31 million to rejuvenate its foreclosure-battered neighborhoods.

In 2009, Florida posted almost 517,000 foreclosure filings, a 34-percent jump from filings in 2008 and a 213-percent rise from postings in 2007. Its foreclosure rate of nearly six percent was the third highest rate among the states and its filings total was the second biggest.

California had the highest number of filings and Nevada and Arizona had the two highest rates.

In December, foreclosure activity also stepped up by four percent in Florida compared to November, although its fourth-quarter activity slowed down by nine percent from the third quarter.

Eight metro areas in Florida were among the 20 U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates in 2009, contributing substantially to the more than half-million Florida foreclosures. The Fort Myers area was second-highest in the ranking, with a rate of 11.2 percent, second only to the Las Vegas area.

The seven other Florida areas were the Orlando area, which ranked seventh with a rate of 8.2-percent; Port Saint Lucie, ninth with a 7.6-percent rate; Miami, tenth, with a 7.2 percent rate; Naples, 13th with a 6.4-percent rate; Daytona, 16th with a 5.3-percent rate; Sarasota, 17th with a 5.3-percent rate; and Lakeland, which ranked 18th with a 5.2-percent rate.

As foreclosure postings stepped up in 2009, foreclosed home sales and pre-owned home sales also climbed up. Based on data from the industry association Florida Realtors, sales of existing homes statewide in December last year rose by 31 percent from December 2008 and by more than four percent from November 2009.

The median sales price for existing single-family homes statewide last December was $187,700, down by 24 percent from 2008. In Orlando, the median single-family sales price also dropped to $144,600 in 2009, down from the 2008 median of $201,500.

In a recent report issued by the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies, Florida foreclosures, including bank owned homes for sale and commercial foreclosures for sale, will continue to rise in number this year because of the double-digit jobless rate, the refusal of banks to provide refinancing, the decline in property values and the high percentage of adjustable-rate mortgage loans.

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