Tampa Bay among Florida cities dominant in 2012 foreclosures, best places to buy foreclosures

TAMPA BAY - Foreclosure activity for 2012 spiked in 57 percent of the  largest U.S. metropolitan cities, with Tampa leading the charge, according to the latest Realty Trac report.

While foreclosures decreased in 12 out of 20 of the nation's largest metropolitan areas, including Phoenix, Ariz. And Los Angeles, Florida cities were a part of the remaining eight areas that experienced foreclosure increases, with an 80 percent boost in Tampa and a 36 percent hike in Miami.

"Markets with increasing foreclosure activity in 2012 took the first step in finally purging delayed distress left over from the bursting housing bubble," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

"Meanwhile, the underlying fundamentals in many of those markets are slowly improving, making it an opportune time to absorb additional foreclosure inventory this year — and that is particularly good news for buyers and investors hungry for more inventory to purchase in those markets."

Tampa Bay cities also ranked in the top 20 best places to buy foreclosed properties with Lakeland as no. 5, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater as no. 6. The no.1 location in Florida was the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville metro area.

Except for Cape Coral-Fort Myers, all Florida cities in the top 20 foreclosure list, including Miami, Melbourne, Orlando, Tampa, Lakeland, Jacksonville, Cape Coral and Ocala, documented an increase in foreclosure activity from 2011 to 2012.

For a more detailed breakdown of foreclosure rates and best markets for foreclosure purchases, view Realty Trac's report here: http://bit.ly/WA9gJL

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