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St Lucy Country: A Lady in Distress

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By : John Smith    99 or more times read
Across the United States, foreclosure sales are back up again to April 2009 levels, and in St Lucy County Florida the situation appears even worse.

A report released earlier this week confirms the trend – the percentage of Treasure Coast Owners with 90+ days delinquent mortgages edged up from February to March too.

California based First American CoreLogic has just released an analysis of sales involving mortgaged residential real estate that reveals that a whopping 29% of single residence sales (including condos) were either reo’s (lender owed properties) or short sales where underwater borrowers were forgiven the discrepancy. That’s pushing closer to one third.

The percentage of these distressed properties sales were even higher in St Lucie County, where in January their contribution was a scary 47% of the 391 homes and condos sold there (88 reo’s and 94 short sales).

President of Realtors Association of St Lucie Maria Wells thinks that this is the current market norm. “None of this comes as a surprise to me,” she says. “We’ve been working under pressure for a while now, and there will be more to come.”

However data from Wells’ Realtors Association shows that the percentage dropped to 39% in February when sales were slightly up to 414 and short sales tied with reo’s.

The national average peaked in January 2009 at 32%. Following that, the distressed sale share fell gradually to 23 percent in July, before rising again in late 2009 and continuing through into 2010.

Another alarming statistic is the proportion of St Lucie County mortgages that are underwater. In February the percentage in 90+ days nudged up to 26.6 – the third highest in the State of Florida according to another CoreLogic Report. By comparison Martin County stands at 12.0% and Indian River County is steady at 16.6%, where actual Foreclosures are on the gradual increase compared to St Lucie’s steady 15.1.

I asked CoreLogic to explain the significance of these numbers. “It’s simple, really,” a CoreLogic analyst told me. “Our foreclosure rate is a measure of the percentage of loans in some stage of foreclosure (including 90-day delinquencies through to properties sold at auction) and does not represent the number of new foreclosure filings or foreclosure cases filed in court.

“You’ll notice that the rate in Indian River County increased in February to 9.9 % from 9.7% in January, while Martin County’s rate rose to 7.0% from 6.9% the previous month. The rates in all three counties are about 3 percentage points higher than they were a year ago.

Florida is unfortunate enough to have contributed the top ten foreclosure markets in the States. Two of these (Orlando and Cape Coral) also made it to the top ten distressed sale list. A possible reason could be that Florida processes all foreclosures through the court which is more time-consuming than the non-judicial processes followed elsewhere, including California, Arizona and Nevada.
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