The foreclosure rate in South Florida is two and a half times higher than the national average, but foreclosures are trending downward.

South Florida foreclosures dropped by 40 percent from last July. It's the 12th straight month of declines.

Even with the improvement, Realty Trac Vice President Daren Blomquist says the Miami-Metro market ranks 5th in foreclosures in the nation.

Blomquist says he feels the South Florida market has turned the corner.

He expects the South Florida market should be back to a more normal level of foreclosures by the second half of next year. He says the market's already shown strong signs of recovery.

He says the tri-county area still has the second highest foreclosure inventory behind New York city market. There are almost 95 thousand properties in the South Florida market that are in the foreclosure process or bank-owned. 

He says our Real Estate market's being hurt by the thousands of homes in foreclosure but are still being held back by banks.

Foreclosures nationwide are up slightly in July in Realty Trac's latest report, but the rate's still 16 percent lower than a year ago.

July was the 46th month in a row that nationwide foreclosures fell.

Florida foreclosure activity decreased 30 percent on a year-over-year basis in July - but the state still posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 10th consecutive month. 

One in every 469 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing in July, more than two and a half times the national average.

The worst foreclosure situation in Florida is the Orlando-Kissimmee market with one in every 357 housing units in  a foreclosure filing.

Photo credit: Joe Raedle / 2011 Getty Images