Just 9,857 homes started the foreclosure process last year, a 36 percent decrease from 2012, according to a report released today by the Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller.
The last time the number of new foreclosures filed was below 10,000 was in 2006 when 5,144 cases went to court. At the height of the foreclosure crisis in 2009, more than 31,000 new foreclosures were filed in Palm Beach County.
“The biggest contributors to our decline in foreclosure cases in 2013 were the improving economy and changes to Florida’s foreclosure laws,” Clerk Sharon Bock said. “This is a positive sign for Palm Beach County, and one that I believe will continue throughout 2014.”
In July, a new foreclosure law was enacted that was meant to allow for speedier foreclosures in some cases, but foreclosure defense attorneys say a provision in the law has held back filings as law firms figure out how to change their filing procedures.
So the question is whether there will be a flood of backlogged foreclosures hitting the courts as law firms get up to speed on the new cases, or if the economy will pick up enough to allow struggling borrowers to sell their homes before the bank repossesses it.
The number of new foreclosure cases filed in December followed the trend. There were 587 new foreclosures filed in December, an 8.7 percent decrease from 643 cases filed in November, and a 49 percent decrease from 1,155 cases filed in December 2012.
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