Attorney Heather Hatch, (L), looks over documents with Louise Plasse, (R), a lawyer from Ocwen Financial Corporation, during foreclosure hearings at The Palm Beach County Courthouse in West Palm Beach, FL on May 30, 2013. (Laura McDermott/The Palm Beach Post).

A steep drop in Palm Beach County foreclosure filings last month may be the result of the state’s new fast-track foreclosure law, which requires lenders to file specific documents with the initial case.

The Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller announced today that just 387 new foreclosures were filed during the month of July, a 61 percent decrease from June and a 69 percent drop from the same time last year. The new law went into effect July 1.

The last time Palm Beach County saw so few foreclosure filings was July 2006 when 392 cases were filed.

“This new law presumably has had a substantial effect on new foreclosure cases filed in Palm Beach County as well as the state of Florida,” said Palm Beach County Clerk Sharon Bock. “It’s too soon to say whether we’ll continue to see declining filings in the courts. However, this demonstrates that banks are acting with an abundance of caution before they bring forward foreclosures cases in Florida.”

Martin and St. Lucie counties experienced the same decline in new filings last month. Martin had just 18 new foreclosures filed, down 80 percent from June and 79 percent from July 2012. St. Lucie County had 175 new filings, a 35 percent drop from June and down 44 percent from 2012.

Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, said the decrease in filings can be attributed partially to the fast-track foreclosure bill, which she got passed during the 2013 legislative session. But that other factors, such as a better economy and rising home prices could also be part of it.

“Many lenders are having to look at their files to make sure what they are filing is proper,” Passidomo

By Kimberly Miller