Published: Jan 31, 2013 6:17 PM EST
Updated: Jan 31, 2013 6:40 PM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - A real estate recovery in our area. More people in our area are holding on to their homes. While this is encouraging news, Lee County still has thousands of homes going through the foreclosure process.

The Cape Coral, Fort Myers area is now ranked 18th most active in the country for foreclosure filings in 2012 with one in every 32 homes. The area used to be number one for filings in 2010. 

"It has the space that my family needs. Its got a lot of room for my kids, it has an extra playroom for my kids." After months of searching, Larry Narvaez and his family, finally closed.

They moved into a once-foreclosed home on Monday. They were drawn to looking at foreclosures for their low prices and value.  "That's what we found out that its a good financial opportunity for us to buy a good house at an affordable price," he said.

New numbers released by RealtyTrac show the number of foreclosure filings in the Cape Coral - Fort Myers area is dropping. Marc Joseph known for his foreclosure bus tours looks at this as a good thing. "There was a time period when Cape Coral - Fort Myers was a lot higher up on that list, so being number 18 is actually a positive thing for us right now," Joseph said.

The number of filings in the area is down almost five percent from 2011 and down almost 63 percent from 2010. 

But Joseph says there's still a large backlog of homes: more than 9,700 cases going through Lee County's court alone. He says, it's slowing the recovery process. "Us being a judicial state, meaning it has to go through the process, it takes longer for a foreclosure to go from the beginning to the end, it can take anywhere from 400-600 days," he said.

Joseph says the tightening of inventory is driving the average sale price of homes up 26 percent to an average of $134,000.     

That means you're going to be spending more on a home  now than you would a few years ago, because of the demand. He says January through April is the peak time for buying homes because all the seasonal residents are here.