Foreclosure filings tumble in 2011, giving Florida homeowners a small sign of hope

TAMPA - Foreclosure filings dropped significantly in 2011, providing a glimmer of hope for Florida homeowners.

But it's not just an improving economy that caused the sharp drop.

"Banks are now more comfortable with the short sale process, which helps with the foreclosure rate," said Tampa Bay Business Journal editor Alexis Muellner.

Foreclosure activity was down 34 percent from 2010, according to real estate tracking service RealtyTrac . Additionally, foreclosures were down 33 percent from 2009 totals.

"It has been a trend for the decrease amount of foreclosures.  The decrease in foreclosure filings is a positive sign," said Muellner.

Homeowners will continue to face a difficult road ahead, as home values will continue to stay flat because they were so over inflated. However, Mueller added "values may finally be at the bottom."

Over 2% of Florida housing units had at least one foreclosure filing in 2011, making it one of the worst in the nation.

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