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Cape-Fort Myers foreclosures jump

By Staff | Mar 11, 2010

Foreclosure filings in the Cape Coral – Fort Myers metro area skyrocketed between January and February.
The area saw a 31 percent increase in foreclosure activity, giving it the second highest foreclosure rate in the nation, representing 1 in every 92 homes currently in foreclosure, according to Realty-Trac, a nationwide values tracking site.
Florida ranked third in the nation for foreclosure filings, behind Arizona and Nevada, which was first, a release from Realty-Trac on Wednesday stated.
One in every 163 homes in Florida is in foreclosure, as filings increased 15 percent from January to February, and was up more than 16 percent from February 2009.
Officials said 54,032 properties received foreclosure filings for February.
Local Realtor and former city council member Gloria Tate said she believes the numbers are accurate for the metro area, but don’t properly represent the market in the city.
“As far as the Cape, we’re moving homes, but prices are going up in every category,” she said.
While there are still plenty of bargains in the city, Tate said the 2009 price inventory is becoming depleted.
Compared to Lehigh Acres, Tate said a home selling for $80,000 in the Cape would sell somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000.
Of course, the Cape offers waterfront properties, most of which have maintained their values, Tate said.
“The window is closing for 2009 bargains … but there will be new opportunities,” she said. “Waterfront has held its own.”
Economic development, or lack there of, could dictate home values in the coming months.
The forthcoming VA Clinic has been predicted to raise values in the north. And the proposed swim center, eyed for land near the clinic, could also pump up the values if it were to be built.
But then there’s the unemployment rates, which continue to rise both locally and statewide, that could very well dictate the number of people who walk away from their homes.
Many local Realtors have predicted the bottom has already been hit, but with the metro area experiencing year-over- year increases, the bottom could still be floating around out there somewhere.
“I believe that still continues,” Tate said of foreclosures. “A lot of it is unemployment, or people just being so upsidedown they feel they have no other choice.”