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Still No. 2 in the nation: Local foreclosures jump 12 percent from last quarter

By Staff | Oct 29, 2010

Cape Coral-Fort Myers posted the second highest foreclosure rate in the nation for the third quarter, according to RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure database.
A total of 10,352 properties in the metro area received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, an increase of 12 percent from the previous quarter but a decrease of nearly 22 percent from the third quarter of 2009.
The other Florida metro area in the top 10 was Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach at No. 7, according to RealtyTrac.
Clerk of Courts Charlie Green said those numbers don’t tell the entire story, and while numbers may be higher from quarter to quarter, overall, Lee County is on the road to foreclosure recovery.
“We’re rapidly eating into our inventory of cases,” Green said. “In six months we’ll be in balance, a year from now we’ll be in great shape.”
According to Green, there’s been a 41 percent decrease in foreclosure filings since September 2009, and a 44 percent decline between 2009 and 2008.
At the height of the foreclosure crisis, Green said there were as many as 700 foreclosures filed each week.
Now there are 16,000 cases that need disposition, Green said, and weekly filings have fallen dramatically. He said that last week only 86 foreclosures were filed.
“We’re working through it,” he said.
Mayor John Sullivan said it was difficult to battle the “perception” foreclosures create, but added that both council and the city manager’s office was “trying to do everything” they can to create jobs and fight that perception.
Sullivan cited the forthcoming KIA dealership, the Veterans Investment Zone, and “killing” the flyover project for Veterans Parkway as examples of economic development.
Sullivan said that since the proposed “flyovers,” or overpasses, have been dropped, several companies are now looking to locate in Cape Coral. Though he wouldn’t name the companies, he said they would bring 200 – 300 jobs.
“I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag. That might be counter productive,” Sullivan said.
Green said he feels Cape Coral is having a “silent growth”, as property is readily available and still moderately cheap.
He said people seeking, and buying, second or retirement homes have created an influx of people no one is talking about. And that same draw — whether cheap housing or good weather — will continue to drive people to Cape Coral, if not all of Florida.
“Housing is a cyclical product whether we like it or not. The demand for Florida real estate will not go away,” Green said.