By Paul Owers
September 17, 2015, 6:28 AM
New foreclosure cases declined in August across Palm Beach and Broward counties, the result of more stringent lending standards and an improved housing market.
Broward had 203 new filings last month, down 74 percent from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac Inc., a foreclosure listing firm in Irvine, Calif. In Palm Beach County, there were 110 filings, a 54 percent drop from August 2014.
Daren Blomquist, a vice president of RealtyTrac, said foreclosures have been on a steady decline for months and have fallen below levels last seen a decade ago before the start of the housing meltdown.
“The loans that were originated over the last five years have been extremely risk-averse,” Blomquist said. “Very few of those homeowners are falling into foreclosure.”
Lenders repossessed 627 Broward homes in August, up 51 percent from a year ago, but the vast majority of those cases are left over from the housing downturn, Blomquist said. Repossessions in Palm Beach County declined 24 percent from a year earlier.
Florida had the nation’s fourth-highest foreclosure rate in August, at one in 596 homes in some stage of the process. Nevada, Maryland and New Jersey ranked ahead of Florida. It was the first time since June 2012 that the Sunshine State did not rank in the top three, RealtyTrac said.
Some lenders may be holding off filing foreclosures in Florida until the Florida Supreme Court rules on how the statute of limitations applies in some older cases, but that isn’t expected to launch another foreclosure crisis.
“That’s going to affect a very limited number of cases,” said Jerry Tepps, a South Florida foreclosure defense lawyer. “That’s not going to change the overall picture at all.”
Powers@sunsentinel.com, 561-243-6529 or Twitter @paulowers
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Owers, Paul. ‘New foreclosures drop as housing market improves’. Sun Sentinel 2015. Web. 17 Sept. 2015.