Foreclosures rise as ARMs reset

Tampa Bay Business Journal - 5:01 PM EDT Monday

Florida is leading the nation in foreclosure activity, according to a report by Bargain Network]("Bargain%20Network"&t=tampabay).

The report said that Florida has approximately 28,000 properties in some form of foreclosure, accounting for 27 percent of the nation’s total. With one new foreclosure filing for every 254 households, the state’s foreclosure rate was more than four times the national average.

Foreclosure activity in the third quarter of 2006 rose by 14 percent compared to the second quarter of the year. It was 39 percent higher than the same period last year.

Five states – Florida, California, Michigan, Texas and Colorado – accounted for an estimated 66 percent of September’s foreclosure filing activity, Bargain Network said. California had the second highest total of foreclosures, followed by Texas and Colorado.

“Florida and the western states are known for their predominance of negative amortization loans in which mortgage holders pay only interest, not equity, on their properties,” stated Tom Adams, president and chief executive officer of Bargain Network, in a release. “We anticipate that foreclosure rates will stabilize and that foreclosures will continue to be an attractive investment vehicle as a cooling economy and slower housing market force some people who purchased real estate using sub-prime mortgages to default on those loans in the months ahead.”

Industry forecasters recently estimated that more than $200 billion worth of adjustable rate mortgages will “reset” at higher rates in 2006 and more than $1 trillion will reset in 2007, the release stated. This situation, compounded by the expected slowing of the economy and the housing market, which according the National Association of Realtors](“National%20Association%20of%20Realtors”&t=tampabay) includes a growing inventory of unsold homes, may edge more homeowners into the foreclosure process, the release from Bargain Network said.

Bargain Network, headquartered in Santa Barbara, Calif., provides real estate foreclosure, pre-foreclosure and for-sale-by-owner properties and information.