An increase in foreclosures hit Southwest Florida, but some say not to worry

A decade ago, you’d see foreclosure signs across most Southwest Florida, which became the sign of a troubled economy and housing market.

And now, despite a building boom across our area and a robust jobs market, we’re once again starting to see the number of foreclosures climb.

Cape Coral homeowner Jacob Rico says he notices fewer people in his neighborhood, “I see many houses like this – empty. Over there a couple houses is empty”

A sight reminiscent of years past is once again popping up in Cape Coral and across the rest of SWFL.

The Southwest Florida Real Estate Investment Association says June saw 145 foreclosure filings in Lee County. That’s  more than a 40 percent hike from May, but realtor Mike Lombardo says not to worry, “To say that our market is in trouble right now, that’s not true.”

Lombardo says he thinks the increase comes from people not having work during Irma or after Irma. “A lot of people had to evacuate, much of the city did, and what happened was those people lost out on income” when people miss out on work, they miss out on payment for their mortgage,” he said.

Not to mention the costly damage from Irma, “Roofs being ripped off, and the insurance company didn’t always cover that, or the deductible was so high that they paid out of pocket., which could lead someone to a foreclosure situation.”

Job relocation and divorce can also lead to money troubles – but a severe hurricane is a bigger push than most.

Lombardo said, “Many houses weren’t able to be sold when the hurricane was on the way here or directly after it, which creates a two month disturbance in our real estate market.”

A disturbance we hopefully won’t notice – if banks and realtors keep foreclosed homes from falling into disrepair.

For perspective, in December 2008, there were 20,000 homes on the court docket for foreclosure. Nearly one in eight homes in Cape Coral went through foreclosure – according to Lee County.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
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