TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida's real estate market continues to be a puzzling contrast between the best of times and the worst of times.
The latest housing reports show Florida leads the nation in foreclosures. One out of every 328 homes across Florida is in the process of foreclosure.
The city of Jacksonville has the highest foreclosure rate in the nation. One out of every 250 homes is in foreclosure.
And yet another report shows the housing market is building strength. Home sales are up 17 percent and prices are up 20 percent compared to a year ago, according to data from the group Florida Realtors.
Home prices have increased 19 consecutive months. The median price now stands at about $180,000.
Vani Ungapen of the Florida Realtors says the real estate market is seeing more sellers and motivated buyers, but lenders are still struggling to clear the huge backlog of foreclosures.
"Since 2007 and 2008, it's just been accumulating. It takes basically two to three years to foreclose so that's just been backlogged. Florida takes over 800 days to foreclose on a property and the nationwide average is about 400 days. So we're hoping with the bill that the governor signed in June that this would expedite the foreclosure process in Florida."
The new law reduces the amount of time for homeowners and banks to meet deadlines in the foreclosure process. Currently there are more than 300,000 properties in foreclosure across Florida.