New numbers show foreclosure rates in Palm Beach County have increased 65 percent in the last year.
But there's more to the numbers than meets the eye.
At this time last year, several banks had frozen foreclosure filings due to pending cases with the Attorney General over robo signings. Now that a settlement has been reached, foreclosures are up yet again.
Palm Beach County clerk Sharon Bock calls the statistics "dramatic" and "bad timing" as budget cuts to her office loom in the next 3 months.
Foreclosure manager Amy Stein however says the increase is not surprising. "As you know the banks were working with the attorney general to settle pending issues; now that we've reached a settlement we're starting to see increase filings come in," says Stein.
And while her office deals with more work, appraisers deal with angry homeowners looking to get out of their home before they end up on the shelf at the courthouse.
Mike Slade has been appraising homes in Palm Beach County for 36 years and says as long as a backlog remains, home values will remain low. "If you have short sales or foreclosures that has a negative effect on values," says Slade.
The Clerk and Comptroller’s Office reports in March of this year there were more than 1,500 new foreclosure filings. That's up 25 percent from February and a 65 percent increase from a year ago.
For Stein's office, more filings means more work with fewer employees.
"The clerk's office is going to experience a 7 percent budget cut across Florida, this translates to about $2.5 million budget cuts," she says.
Though the outlook is grim, Slade says if the job market gets better than the housing market will follow.
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