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Florida’s foreclosure rate is nation’s highest

More than 14 percent of Florida’s mortgages were in foreclosure in the fourth quarter of 2010, and an additional 5.2 percent were more than 90 days behind on payments, the MBA report found. “More than 20 percent of all loans in Florida are somewhere past due or somewhere in foreclosure,” said Mike Fratantoni, vice president of the MBA. That’s the highest level of at-risk properties in the nation and Florida’s foreclosure inventory is up 0.5 percent from the previous quarter. The national delinquency rate is 8.2 percent, down 0.9 percent from the previous quarter. The report had some good news: Foreclosure starts in the state are down and the number of loans that are seriously past due decreased 0.7 percent from the previous quarter. The main reason for the increasing foreclosure inventory has been the slow-pace of close out foreclosure cases in Florida courtrooms, Fratantoni said. “The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process increased in the fourth quarter, largely due to the foreclosure paperwork issues that were being addressed in September and October,” Fratantoni said in a statement. “These issues caused a temporary halt in foreclosure sales, particularly in states with judicial foreclosure regimes, such as New Jersey, Florida, and Illinois.” There are signs that South Florida’s foreclosure courts continue to struggle with allegations of robo-signing and lost documents. The foreclosure process now takes a total of 742 days in Miami-Dade County and 689 days in Broward County, according to Jacksonville-based Lender Processing Services. That’s nearly twice as long as it took in 2007.

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