Naples-Marco jumps to No. 10 in national foreclosure ranking

Naples-Marco Island is moving up in the national rankings for its foreclosure activity.

The metro area ranked No. 10 in the country for its foreclosure-related filings in March, according to Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac. It’s the highest Naples-Marco has been ranked in RealtyTrac’s foreclosure statistics.

The rankings are based on default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions.

In February, Naples-Marco Island stood at No. 15 in the nation.

There were a total of 1,834 filings, or one for every 105 households, in March. That was up more than 48 percent from 1,237 in February and up more than 145 percent from 748 a year ago.

Of the total filings last month, 1,001 were default notices — the first step taken in foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac.

“I have definitely seen an increase in folks coming in for assistance,” said Brandon Anthony Sciuto, a mortgage broker, legal assistant and real estate agent in Naples who specializes in the sale of distressed properties facing foreclosure.

He said the uptick could be the beginning of a second wave of foreclosures in Collier County. Many have tried to hold on to their homes, but can’t do it anymore after borrowing from their 401Ks and maxing out their credit cards, Sciuto said.

“They’ve dug themselves a real deep hole,” he said.

For those mortgage holders, foreclosure is the only option left.

“I think a lot of people have come to realize that this market is not going to be turning around any time soon and that if it does it’s going to be a gradual thing,” Sciuto said.

In the first three months of this year, there were 3,771 foreclosure filings in Naples-Marco Island — one for every 51 households. That was up nearly 10.5 percent from 3,413 in the fourth quarter of last year and up more than 127 percent from 1,659 in the first quarter of 2008.

In March, Cape Coral-Fort Myers dropped a few notches in the rankings for foreclosure activity. It was at No. 2 in the country in February. It fell to No. 5 last month with 4,803 foreclosure-related filings, or one for every 75 households. That was down nearly 13.7 percent from 5,564 in February and up nearly 44 percent from 3,339 a year ago.

In the first three months, Cape Coral-Fort Myers had 13,875 filings, or one for every 26 households. That was down more than 5.5 percent from 14,686 in the fourth quarter and up more than 36 percent from 10,194 in the first quarter of 2008.

In Charlotte County, there were 506 filings in March, or one for every 121 households. That was down nearly 5.3 percent from 7,690 in February and up almost 95 percent from 3,746 a year ago. In the first quarter, the county had 1,509 filings _ down almost 14.6 percent from the fourth quarter of last year and up more than 43 percent from a year ago.

For the first quarter, RealtyTrac reported foreclosure filings on 803,489 properties nationwide, a nearly 24 percent increase from the same quarter a year ago. Across the country, filings were reported on 341,180 properties in March, a 46 percent increase from a year ago.

The March and first quarter totals were the highest since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005.

“In the month of March we saw a record level of foreclosure activity — the number of households that received a foreclosure filing was more than 12 percent higher than the next highest month on record,” said James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac’s CEO, in a statement. “Since much of this activity was in new foreclosure actions, it suggests that many lenders and servicers were holding off on executing foreclosures due to industry moratoria and legislative delays.”

Nevada had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate for states in the first quarter, with one in every 27 households receiving a filing — more than five times the national average. Arizona had the second highest state foreclosure rate. That was followed by California.

Despite a 12 percent decrease in filings in the first quarter, Florida still had the second highest number of filings in the nation. Filings were reported on 119,220 Florida properties, a 36 percent increase from the first quarter of 2008.

Florida had the fourth highest state foreclosure rate for the quarter, with one in every 73 households getting a notice.

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