According to new data from Realty Trac, Fort Myers foreclosures increased by an alarming 31% between January and February, giving it the second highest foreclosure rate in the U.S, with 1 in 90 homes now in foreclosure.
Many people will be shocked by such a large increase when, in the US as a whole, and internationally things are starting to recover. None of those people however, will be analysts are followers of the US housing market data on a regular basis.
Because those people will know that there are millions of US households that meet the criteria for foreclosure, but have yet to be foreclosed upon by the bank in question.
Because those people will know that mortgage interest rates are starting to rise because of the Federal Reserve’s policy of buying Mortgage Backed Securities is coming to an end. This will ultimately put more pressure on anyone struggling to keep up with mortgage repayments and likely cause more increases in foreclosure figures in the months ahead.
Florida as a whole has long had among the highest foreclosure rates in America. According to the RealtyTrac release February was no exception to this rule, with a 15% increase in foreclosures in the state compared to January, and a 16% increase on February 2009. RealtyTrac said that 1 out of every 163 homes in Florida is now foreclosed or in foreclosure proceedings.
From a foreign investor’s perspective, Fort Myers is currently seen as an excellent opportunity, because the foreclosed properties are sold at bargain prices, and because the area is widely regarded as having good long-term prospects for rising employment, house prices and general economic growth and prosperity. Fort Myers is also known to have the third fastest growing rental market in America.
On the flip side; while foreclosures and distressed sales are good for boosting agent’s sales figures, and do bring optimism on rising levels of demand, it is unlikely we will see any sustainable recovery until foreclosures come back down to normal levels.
Photo credits: Andrew Bain via Flickr