Foreclosure Backlog Likely to Take Two More Years for Sarasota and Manatee Counties


Nancy Cason

In mid 2013, the 12th Judicial Circuit, which is comprised of Sarasota, Manatee and Desoto counties obtained additional funding from the Florida Legislature as part of the National Mortgage Settlement. The goal for our Circuit in obtaining this funding was to allow as much of the foreclosure backlog as possible to be cleared before funding runs out in February, 2015.

So, just how much progress has been made with this effort? Here is a look at the 12th Judicial Circuit’s foreclosure by the numbers as of the end of February 2014.

  • As of June 30, 2012, a year before the implementation of the new foreclosure resources, there were approximately 16,629 foreclosure cases pending circuit-wide.
  • As of June 30, 2013, near the implementation of the resources, 14,109 foreclosure cases pending in our Circuit.
  • With the implementation of the new resources, after only eight months, the number of pending foreclosure cases dropped down to 9,925.
  • During the first 8 months of the program approximately 6,360 foreclosure cases were disposed of in some manner in our Circuit, the breakdown for the cases disposed of was as follows:
    • 2,694 dismissed,
    • 3,566 disposed of by judge,
    • 1 disposed of by jury, and,
    • 99 disposed of by other means (consolidation, change of venue, etc).

Thus, as of the end of February, roughly 40% of the backlogged foreclosure cases existing at the time of implementation had been disposed of in some manner. However, during that same period of time, approximately 1,885 new foreclosure cases were filed circuit-wide, (averaging 235 per month during that 8 month period) and continue to be filed at the rate of over 200 hundred additional foreclosure cases per month.

Based on these figures only, the net dispositions (foreclosure cases disposed of less monthly new filings) were approximately 795 per month from June of 2013-February of 2014.

At this rate, it will take close to another two years to clear up the current backlog, assuming the current additional funding resources are renewed after they run out in February of 2015 and new filings stay at or near the 200 per month level.

Prior to the additional funding being received, a residential foreclosure could take as long as three and a half (3.5) or more years to move through the court system. It seems likely those days are over.

However, although there is no question that foreclosures will move more quickly through the system, we still have a far way to go before the foreclosure crisis is considered over in the Sarasota and Manatee communities. As such, foreclosures will continue to affect real property values throughout the remainder of 2014 and likely well into 2015.