TAMPA - Fewer people are losing homes in the Tampa Bay area, but the region still has the nation's sixth-highest foreclosure rate, a new ranking shows.
In fact, metropolitan areas in Florida take up five of the six top spots in the nationwide ranking by RealtyTrac, a foreclosure research firm.
That's likely because Florida's foreclosure process, which requires lenders to go to court to remove a homeowner, is slower than other states' nonjudicial process, RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said.
Figures for the second quarter of this year show 1 in every 122 housing units in the Bay area was involved in the foreclosure process, from the early stage of getting a foreclosure notice to the point when a bank takes back a property. Overall, the owners of 11,075 homes received such a notice, which is down 17.9 percent from the first quarter of this year and down about 2 percent from the second quarter of last year.
It's a good sign that foreclosures are falling, but the pace is too slow to move Florida out of the top spots for foreclosure rates nationally. Metropolitan Miami leads the nation in foreclosure rates among communities with more than 200,000 people, with 1 in every 84 housing units in some stage of foreclosure during the second quarter.
Trailing Miami in order were: metropolitan Jacksonville, Ocala, Orlando-Kissimmee, Akron, Ohio, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater.
"This is not a new wave of distress we're seeing in Florida," Blomquist said. "It's just that Florida is taking longer to deal with distress from the past."