Palm Beach County foreclosure filings surge in March

WEST PALM BEACH — Lenders filed to foreclose on 1,502 Palm Beach County homeowners in March, a 65 percent increase from the same time last year and up 25 percent from February.

The surge in new filings was called “dramatic” by Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock, who released the numbers Friday. But it was a bump that analysts predicted would follow the $25 billion settlement between lenders and the nation’s attorneys general.

A federal judge signed off on the national settlement Wednesday. The deal, which landed Florida about $8.4 billion in mortgage relief and cash, requires lenders to increase loan-modification programs and write down borrower loan amounts. It also provides standards for servicing loans and processing foreclosures.

“This settlement and other critical actions taken by the (Obama) administration are significant steps toward rebuilding our housing market,” said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan in a statement Friday.

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