During the month of April, foreclosure filings were down 53.7 percent in Miami-Dade County compared to filings during April 2010. Unfortunately, South Florida cannot link the decrease in filings to a housing recovery or better foreclosure prevention programs.
Banks and lenders are seeing massive delays in foreclosure proceedings, prolonging the process by months. After discovering major flaws in home repossession procedures, many lenders have had to re-evaluate their processes in order to lawfully repossess homes again. This has put a halt to the repossession of homes while lenders sort out their mess. Two Florida firms that handled many of the state’s foreclosures also announced that they were closing, leaving many foreclosures in limbo.
The dramatic slow-down of foreclosure proceedings in South Florida not only affects banks and lenders, but it also takes a toll on many families and homeowners. In 2007, the average foreclosure took a total of 169 days. Just last year, it took on average a total of 470 days to complete the foreclosure process. Today, homeowners can assume that the foreclosure process will take on average 619 days to complete.
Because lenders are working to keep up with the amount of foreclosures already filed in South Florida, many lenders are holding off on filing new foreclosure notices. In April 2010, more than 6,300 foreclosure notices were filed in South Florida. Last month only 2,134 notices were filed.
Although this means that some residents may be able to stay in their homes a while longer, for others it means having to deal with the financial and emotional stress of a foreclosure for nearly 20 months.
Individuals who understand that their home may go into foreclosure may want to consider taking action before the drawn out process begins and before more debt accrues, especially if an individual wants to keep his or her home. When a homeowner files for bankruptcy protection in Florida, the homeowner may be eligible to keep his or her property. Others can choose to eliminate debts through liquidation in order to begin a fresh start.
The Miami Herald: “Foreclosure process gets even slower in South Florida,” Toluse Olorunnipa, 12 May 2011