Housing shakeout: 5 Florida cities among worst nationally for foreclosures

by | Aug 31, 2023

  • Florida’s housing market experiences concerning trend with five metro areas making it to the nation’s Top 20 foreclosure rates list.
  • Lakeland and Winter Haven in Florida are ranked the worst metro area for foreclosure rates, securing the 5th position nationally.
  • Jacksonville, Orlando, Pensacola, and Ocala also make the list, highlighting a shakeout in Florida’s home-ownership landscape; Jacksonville sees a 9.9% increase in foreclosures from Jan to June 2023 compared to 2022.

Florida’s housing market is witnessing an unsettling trend, with five metro areas landing on the list of the nation’s Top 20 for foreclosure rates. According to a recent report, Lakeland and nearby Winter Haven are among the worst regions for foreclosure rates – good enough to rank 5th on the national list.

Other Florida cities aren’t far behind. Jacksonville pulls in at 7th worst in the nation, while Orlando and the surrounding Kissimmee-Sanford suburbs, Pensacola, and Ocala round out the Top 20, coming in at 15th, 16th and 19th respectively.  The rankings, combined with a report from last month ranking Florida in the middle of the pack for overall mortgage delinquencies, signals a shakeout in the state’s home-ownership landscape.

In Lakeland and Winter Haven, the ranking translated to one foreclosure out of every 347 homes. For Jacksonville, there was approximately one foreclosure for every 390 homes in the first half of 2023 according to data from 223 metropolitan statistical areas studied. Jacksonville witnessed a 9.9% increase in total foreclosures from January to June 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

Despite making strides in mortgage recovery—ranking 21st overall in the nation for homeowners with delinquent mortgages at 3.29 percent and 19th for foreclosures with 0.51 percent—the Sunshine State continues to face challenges, including sky-high housing costs overall. Despite the numbers, last earlier this month, Jacksonville-based Black Knight, Inc., pointed out that the mortgage market was starting to shows signs of recovery despite persistent difficulties.

Compared to Florida, the national delinquency rate also edged up to 3.21% last month, so the new data showing Florida metro areas dominating the foreclosure rankings isn’t surprising. But there may be light at the end of the tunnel. Serious delinquencies—those 90 or more days past due—fell to their lowest level since before the Great Financial Crisis, standing at 468,000. At the same time, loans in active foreclosure fell to 220,000, the lowest since federal foreclosure moratoria lifted, reflecting a 22% drop since February 2020, pre-pandemic.

Florida’s standing reflects broader national trends—a recovering housing market still grappling with localized issues. Rising housing costs in the state add another layer of complexity, particularly affecting low- and middle-income families, pushing many into lower-cost communities.


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