Palm Beach County Foreclosures
For many Palm Beach County residents, hearing bad news about the foreclosure crisis is part of the daily routine. TV, newspapers and the internet focus almost exclusively on negative stories showing the number of foreclosures rising, property values plummeting and half of Palm Beach County homes suffering underwater mortgages. With little or no attention focused on potential solutions, its tough to put a positive spin on anything related to foreclosures. Is Your Mortgage Underwater?
Although the news is not good overall, knowing your Foreclosure Options and why this may be the best time to take action can help.
Current Status of Palm Beach County Foreclosures
In the short term, there’s been some good news for the Palm Beach County foreclosure crisis as the number of foreclosure filings dropped 66% from the same period one year ago. Foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions is a widely accepted measure of foreclosure trends and shows how dramatically foreclosure filings dropped following the disclosure of fraudulent documents and illegal tactics by banks and their lawyers. Florida Foreclosure Lawsuits
The numbers nationwide have been similar although less dramatic with a 33% reduction in foreclosure filings from a year ago. Even with the reduced foreclosure activity, we’re still talking about 715 Palm Beach County foreclosure sales and 1,126 new filings last month alone.
Future Trends for Palm Beach County Foreclosures
Unfortunately, the numbers showing a decline in new foreclosure filings are somewhat misleading and don’t tell the full story of what to expect over the next several months. Specifically, although the numbers dropped from a year ago, foreclosure filings actually increased 7% from last month and many experts believe this is just the first trickle in the expected flood of new foreclosure lawsuits and bank repossessions.
Nationwide statistics also support this trend which is much more pronounced in non-judicial foreclosure states. Apparently the banks aren’t ready to pass court scrutiny so have elected to ramp up cases in the states that don’t require judicial oversight. Non-judicial sale states like California exploded with a 55% increase in new filings last month, and Nevada among others was close behind with a 31% increase in new filings.
As we noted earlier with the next wave of foreclosure lawsuits poised to hit, now is the time to develop your foreclosure plans and reach out to the bank before they become inundated with new cases. Foreclosure Lawsuits
Underwater Mortgages and Home Values in Palm Beach County
Palm Beach County property values have dropped steadily like the rest of South Florida homes resulting in 58 consecutive months of lower prices. Although December 2011 actually showed the first increase in years from the prior month, it was a modest 0.2% and prices were still down 3.9% compared with last year when it seemed property value couldn’t get any lower. Broward County Foreclosures
With home values remaining flat at best, its likely to get worse before we see a long term recovery as a result of the huge number of underwater mortgages and foreclosure sales continuing to push down the average sale price. In Palm Beach County, 42% of all homes have an underwater mortgage and many more are close as values continue to decline. Making matters worse, 3/4 of the homes with underwater mortgages are also paying higher than market interest rates creating the “perfect storm” for homeowners looking to sell or refinance.
Palm Beach County foreclosure sales increased by 28% last month and constitute about a third of all real estate sales county wide. Average Palm Beach County foreclosure sale prices are down to $116,642 from $142,997 a year ago and on average a typical foreclosure sale goes for about 40% less than a non-foreclosure related sales.
We’ve provided a lot of statistics here which aren’t meant to confuse or impress but to make sure you understand the urgency of developing your foreclosure plans ASAP and contacting the bank while they still have time to provide the effort needed to help you avoid foreclosure.
Whether any bank actually wants to help is dubious, but the foreclosure cases aren’t going away without cooperation from both sides. In addition, one of the few benefits of the recent Nationwide Foreclosure Settlement is the requirement that banks provide a single point of contact for each loan making it easier to deal directly with lenders and the same person handling all phases of your foreclosure process.
Palm Beach County Courts and Foreclosure Lawsuits
Much like Broward County, Palm Beach County courts seem to care about homeowners rights. Many of the most important appellate and trial court decisions have started in Palm Beach County, and the current backlog of cases further shows that the courts are more concerned with getting it right than helping banks steamroll foreclosure rights. Although the current backlog of 23,725 pending foreclosure cases makes it difficult to schedule hearings, better to be heard later than not at all.
The Clerk of the Court for the 15th Circuit/Palm Beach County handles foreclosures and foreclosure sales and more information can be obtained by visiting the 15th Circuit website or contacting the Clerk by phone or in person at the courthouse in downtown Palm Beach. Online information includes scheduling foreclosure hearings, details on foreclosure sales and the Palm Beach County foreclosure process.