Palm Beach County Real Estate Market Still Not Completely “Healthy” This Summer
Palm Beach County Foreclosures Decreasing
Palm Beach County’s Clerk of Court reported this week that foreclosure sales have dropped significantly in the first six months of 2014. According to the latest statistics, there were 3,199 new foreclosure cases filed from January, 2014 through June, 2014, compared with 6,454 filings during the same period in 2013.
The number of new foreclosures also decreased for June 2014, where there were 497 new cases filed, representing a 9.3 percent decrease from the previous month and a 50.4 percent decrease from June 2013.
However, Clerk Sharon Bock indicated that "While it is good to keep an eye on foreclosure case filings, the numbers that I believe are just as important to watch are the number of deeds and mortgages recorded with our office. Those numbers were down in June, but not to a significant degree."
But Area Housing Market Not Improving For All
Housing sale data by Zillow clarifies the county housing market situation. According to Zillow, an online real estate database, Palm Beach County home values have gone up 15.8 percent in the past year. Zillow also predicts that area home values will rise an additional 3.8 percent over the course of the upcoming year.
However, while improving home values are encouraging and should help some homeowners get "above water" on their mortgages, not all homeowners are seeing relief. In fact, additional Zillow data through May, 2014 shows that 22.3 percent of Palm Beach County homes still have a negative equity, compared with the U.S. average of 18.8 percent, as of March 31, 2014. Even more troubling is that 14.9 percent of homeowners in Palm Beach County are delinquent on their mortgage, compared to a U.S. average of 7.2 percent.
Palm Beach County’s market health index also indicates that all is not completely well in the region. The area currently receives a relatively "unhealthy" ranking of 4.1 out of 10 on the index, which reflects the current "health" of the region’s housing market relative to other housing markets across the country ( looking for a mobile app for health industry?). It is based on metrics that include past and projection home values, the number of foreclosures in the area, the number of foreclosure re-sales in the area, negative equity and delinquencies, as well as whether homes in the area currently are selling faster or slower than in the past.
Avoiding Foreclosure And Foreclosure Defense For Those Still Suffering Financially
For individuals who are having difficulties making their mortgage payments due to the recent economic downturn but who want to stay in their home, several options are available, including:
- renegotiating your mortgage with the bank or mortgage owner to reduce your payments;
- refinancing your current mortgage;
- negotiating a deed in lieu of foreclosure;
- negotiating a short sale; or
- filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy relief.
If the bank or mortgage holder has already initiated a foreclosure action, there are various ways to defend against the legal action and stop the foreclosure. A proper foreclosure defense requires examining the particular facts of how the mortgage was created and serviced, as well as reviewing the events leading up to the foreclosure. Depending on the circumstances, if the bank has engaged in unfair lending practices (such as using threatening tactics or making misrepresentations) or other unfair dealing throughout the process, the foreclosure action may be challenged.
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