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Florida has highest foreclosure rate five months running


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January marked the fifth month in a row Florida has lead the nation in foreclosures.

With one in every 300 households having a foreclosure filing in January, Florida more than doubled the national average, according to a report by RealtyTrac.

RealtyTrac is an online marketplace for foreclosure properties and real estate data.

Florida also had the worst foreclosure rate for 2012 in the United States.

John Rountree, president of the Ocala/Marion County Association of Realtors, said the reason foreclosure rates are so high in Florida, and more specifically in Marion County, is because the unemployment rate is so high.

With one in every 223 housing units with a foreclosure filing, Ocala had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate in January among cities with populations over 200,000, according to RealtyTrac.

Five other Florida cities fell in the national top 10: Miami at No. 2, Orlando at No. 3, Jacksonville at No. 8, Tampa at No. 9 and Lakeland at No. 10

Rountree said year-to-year reports are the best thing to look at to see if foreclosure rates are heading in the right direction. Each foreclosure has an effect on the economy, but more jobs will decrease the amount of foreclosures, he said.

He said there are positive signs, but the banks are making it difficult because they have such tight standards.

Rountree said it is still a great time to buy a house because interest rates are still down.

Andrew V. Pestano wrote this story online. 

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