2014 May See Last of Recession-Caused Foreclosure Inventory
Florida still has the highest percent of residential foreclosures, but an improving economy and years of aggressive court action have made it possible to say 2014 may be the last year of the recession hangover inventory.
"We're definitely feeling the slowdown in terms of mortgage foreclosure defense work," said Peter Ticktin of Ticktin Law Group in Deerfield Beach.
One of the higher profile foreclosure defense firms, Ticktin Law Group is expanding its business litigation practice and picking up more family and personal injury cases, Ticktin said.
A significant number of its foreclosure cases now come from law firms that are in trouble, he added. Some firms partnered with non-lawyer companies that used aggressive and questionable practices to bring clientele, he said.
"The Florida Bar is coming down on those firms," Ticktin said.
Another source of clients stems from firms that took hefty fees up front but didn't have the foresight to realize the pipeline would eventually dry up.
"Their practice was to say, 'Give us $3,000 now and I'll see your case all the way through.' That worked great as long as somebody new was coming along next week with another $3,000," Ticktin said.
At the start of last year, the Office of State Court Administrator estimated Florida's pending foreclosure cases would drop from 358,852 on June 30, 2013 to 334,852 at the end of the next fiscal year and 238,852 by June 30, 2015. Foreclosures wouldn't be down to pre-recession levels until 2016.
Ticktin disagrees it will take that long for many reasons. For one, prices are rising and houses long underwater are becoming marketable.
"By this time next year, almost all of the mountain of foreclosures is going to be a memory," Ticktin said.