South Florida among top in U.S. in foreclosures

In the months before robo-signing scandals threw much of the foreclosure system into distress, lenders had hit stride in South Florida's civil courts, reclaiming homes at an increasingly fast pace, a report released Thursday by real estate research firm RealtyTrac shows.

In the third quarter of 2010, South Florida led the nation with the highest number of foreclosure filings among large metropolitan areas, with more than 59,064 homes in distress. That's a 24 percent increase from the previous quarter, and a 9 percent jump from the same period in 2009. Led by a large increase in bank reposessions, the region's foreclosure rate ranked 7th nationwide, with one out of every 41 homes in some stage of foreclosure.

``In contrast to what we're seeing happening in the other foreclosure hotspots in Nevada, California and Arizona, many of the metro areas in Florida are actually posting increases from a year ago,'' said Daren Blomquist, spokesman for Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac, a market research firm. ``Whereas the foreclosure activity in other areas is going down.''

RealtyTrac's South Florida analysis includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Its foreclosure report for October, to be released next month, will reflect the region's foreclosure environment in the weeks after banks like GMAC and Bank of America halted their foreclosure processes to review faulty paperwork.

Read the complete story at