More Orlando homes enter foreclosure in May

Article Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel

By Mary Shanklin

Published June 15, 2012


The number of Metro Orlando homes entering the foreclosure process last month was up more than 10 percent from the month before a possible concern for a real estate market that has been recovering from the housing slump and recession.

May was the fifth consecutive month in which increasing numbers of homeowners in the four-county metro area encountered the initial stages of foreclosure, according to the latest monthly report by the California-based research firm RealtyTrac Inc.

"That is going to continue to weigh down the housing market, until lenders have worked through that backlog," said Daren Blomquist, a RealtyTrac spokesman.

The research firm's report shows that homeowners in the metro area (Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake counties) received a total of 3,715 foreclosure-related legal actions last month. That filing activity, which included notices for everything from initial defaults to property auctions, was up 37 percent from April and 80 percent from a year earlier, a time when lenders had temporarily backed off from filing new foreclosure cases.

Within the four-county area, only Orange had a decline in foreclosure activity from a year earlier. The county with the biggest growth in total filings was Osceola, where 731 foreclosure-related documents were filed in the courts during May an increase of 546 percent from 12 months earlier.

Much of that overall foreclosure activity involves ongoing paperwork for houses that may take lenders years to foreclose on. A better indication of the market's future may be the number houses that got an initial foreclosure notice last month.

In Orlando, that occurred to more than 1,810 houses in May, compared with 1,629 in April.

An increase of the number of houses entering foreclosure does not necessarily mean more distressed properties will soon be dumped on the market, said Stephen Baker, a broker with Re/Max Central Realty of Altamonte Springs. During a recent National Association of Realtors conference that he attended inWashington, D.C., the country's three top lenders told the crowd not to expect a big release of foreclosed properties, he said.

"They told us that they wouldn't want to do that, because it would hurt them by driving down prices" and they would not be able to process that many sales effectively, Baker said.

Fewer houses entered foreclosure in Orange and Osceola counties last month, but more houses in Seminole and Lake counties got their first notice during May. In Seminole County, for instance, 559 houses got their initial notice last month, up from 127 in April and 146 in May 2011.