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Study: Foreclosure filings are up in South Florida, statewide

South Florida has the dubious distinction of being among the top three regions in the country when it comes to the rate of foreclosures — namely, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area.

It's not just South Florida that's struggling. Florida was fourth in the country in the rate of foreclosures, according to a recently-released report by Attom Data Solutions.

Researchers compared the rate of foreclosure filings in July of this year with the same month last year. Florida had a 35 percent increase in foreclosure filings for condos and single-family homes. The rate of foreclosure filings in the South Florida metro area noted above jumped by 29 percent in July and 35 percent the previous month.

Experts point out that foreclosure rates increase for various reasons depending on the geographical area. They say that a rise in foreclosures in some areas isn't a precursor to the financial and real estate crises the country experienced a decade ago.

One executive with Attom noted that in some areas, the jump in foreclosures could be linked to last year's devastating hurricanes. Some banks and other lenders gave impacted homeowners extensions on their mortgage payments in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey (which wreaked havoc on Houston — one of the other metro areas with the greatest jump in foreclosure starts).

However, other findings in the report are more troubling. For example, foreclosure filings are particularly high in working-class areas of Miami-Dade, including Hollywood, City of Miami, Homestead and Pompano.

One official with the Florida International University Metropolitan Center (FIUMC) calls it "a disturbing trend, especially when you see the biggest impact is in less affluent communities. He notes, "This is the older, less valued housing stock." Analysts caution, though, that Floridians living in higher-priced homes in more affluent areas aren't immune from the vicissitudes of foreclosure rates.

If you're looking at the potential of foreclosure, find out what your alternatives are. Florida real estate attorneys who know the law and the South Florida real estate market can help you review your options and provide guidance in whatever path you decide to take.

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