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Florida's foreclosure rate remains highest in the country

With foreclosures jumping 20 percent in November from this time last year, and 3 percent in October, Florida is the nation's leading state for foreclosures and foreclosure-related activity. The California data firm RealtyTrac states that the real estate recovery over the next year will probably be slow, as homeowners seeking debt relief are forced to relinquish their homes - with Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Pompano Beach among the worst areas hit.

One in every 260 homes in South Florida faces some type of foreclosure activity, including bank repossessions and default notices.

The amount of scheduled auctions in Florida jumped 51 percent in November, with bank repossessions up 15 percent -- while in other parts of the country, foreclosures fell by 3 percent in November to October, and 19 percent from November of last year. The vice president of RealtyTrac says that with many Americans still struggling with debt, home prices may not lower at all in strong markets, but economic conditions may "dampen things" in the Florida housing market.

Foreclosure filings in the state were more than twice the national average. The reason for the jump in foreclosures may be due to lenders adapting to new settlement rules; after a 2010 suit filed by state attorneys general against major mortgage banks' questionable procedures, foreclosures dramatically slowed for a brief period before rising again.

Also, foreclosure activity in Florida courts is a more time-consuming procedure than in most parts of the country. These changes may present new challenges to Broward County homeowners struggling with financial challenges and hoping not to lose their homes.

South Florida residents with foreclosure concerns may want to consult with a legal professional to explore every option for debt relief.

Source: The Miami Herald, "Florida leads nation in foreclosure activity," Martha Brannigan, Dec. 13, 2012

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