A close look at the number of “Notices of Lis Pendens” filed with the Clerk of Court on a 12-month moving average basis confirms, at least for now, that the county is “over -the-hump” when it comes to foreclosure law suits being filed. A lis pendens (Latin for “suit pending”) is a document that gets filed in the public records putting the world on notice that there is a lawsuit filed in the court house about a particular piece of property, and anyone interested in the property better check into that suit before they buy the property or loan money against it. Their interest in the property will be subject to whatever happens in the lawsuit, even if they are not a party to it. While not every lis pendens relates to a mortgage foreclosure suit (it could be an easement case, a boundary line dispute, or a construction lien enforcement, for example), most of the time it is a mortgage foreclosure, even more so in the last several years. According to data compiled by Dick Erdmann at Suncoast Real Properties in Port Charlotte, in 2006 there were 1001 Notices of Lis Pendens filed in Charlotte County. In 2010 there were 2751. What happened in between? The following chart shows the 12-month moving average of the lis pendens filings in the past five years: It doesn’t take a statistician to see a trend here. The foreclosure flurry peaked in second quarter 2009 and has trended downward since. It is now about half what it was at the top, but still more than twice what it was at the beginning. We must still be vigilant about quirks in the system, such as the effect of the temporary moratorium some banks put on new foreclosures last year when the “robo-signers” were discovered and the rumors that the big banks are going to drop huge amounts of inventory on the market at the beginning of this year (I presume that if they do, these properties will have already been through the foreclosure process). But as I discussed previously, the over-supply of residential inventory must be absorbed before there is a substantial uptick in property values and new home construction, two pillars of Charlotte County’s economic health. By studying the trend in new foreclosure filings, it appears that the pig is passing through the python, albeit at a slower pace than we might prefer.