Sunny Future, Difficult Past For South Florida Foreclosures

Sep 17, 2015


  The South Florida housing market is on the mend, according to the latest foreclosure numbers from RealtyTrac. The numbers paint a bright road for future homeowners, but don't mean much for those under foreclosure now.

Miami saw the second highest foreclosure rate among the 20 largest metro areas in August, averaging one foreclosure filing for every 568 housing units.

Among those is Genny Rodriguez's home. She lives with her family in a four-bedroom house in Cutler Bay. In 2009, she had to refinance, but was unable to keep up with those payments. In 2013, she received notice that the house was under foreclosure. 

“We built it, it was a lot of effort, a lot of love put into it,” Rodriguez says. “My kids grew up here… our roof is our American Dream.”

More than 45,000 other homes in South Florida are under foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac, much of this  a legacy of the 2008/2009 housing bust. The number of those homes is in part why Miami still stands out nationally, despite the decrease in foreclosure rate since last year.

 

"The Miami foreclosure numbers are headed in the right direction,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, “but because the foreclosure problem was so severe in South Florida, despite the drop, it still has a relatively high foreclosure rates compared to other major markets across the country.”

He says roughly 70 percent of all loans in foreclosure in South Florida are what Blomquist calls the “bad loans” from 2004-2008. 

These loans are also the center of a lawsuit filed by the city of Miami.

Earlier this month, a federal court of appeals revived the city’s case claiming three banks — Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo — steered black and Latino Miamians toward predatory loans. 

The city wants the banks to make up for the tax revenue that was not collected because of the ensuing foreclosures. The banks say they are not responsible for what happened.