Foreclosures Up 29% in Condo-Bust Mecca – S. Florida

Condo foreclosuresForeclosures in South Florida rose 29 percent to 97,371 in 2009, compared to the previous year, in one of the hardest hit foreclosure regions in the nation, propelled by the most overbuilt condo market, according to a new report from
The figures for Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties represent foreclosure actions initiated against properties in the tri-county area, were coastlines are dotted with many vastly-vacant high-rises in a still ripe condo-bust aftermath.
Despite the sharp increase, there is a bright spot. Mortgage modifications launched in South Florida to help rescue borrowers kept the figure from surpassing the key level of 100,000, said Peter Zalewski, a principal with the Bal Harbour, Fla.-based real estate consultancy Condo Vultures.
“At the end of the second quarter of 2009, the region was on pace for more than 100,000 foreclosure actions. That momentum slowed just enough in the third and fourth quarters, allowing the region to fall just short of the psychologically significant mark,” Zalewksi said. “The newfound willingness of lenders to suddenly work with borrowers to modify mortgages or approve short sales has undoubtedly had an effect on the  number of foreclosure filings in South Florida.”
The Condo Vultures firm helps match investors from around the world with South Florida condos, many of them brand new, at below-market prices.
South Florida, or the greater Miami area, has been compared with Las Vegas as both shared a vigrous condo boom just prior to the national housing market collapse and financial crisis. Both areas are now festering with stalled condo developments and rising foreclosures, leaving many units available to investor “vultures.”

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