Lenders filed to foreclose on $3.5 billion in outstanding loans secured by properties in South Florida during the third quarter, a 38% decrease compared to the same period a year ago, according to a new report from CondoVultures.com that suggests the region may have turned the corner on foreclosures. The report covers Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, some of the nation's hardest hit areas for foreclosures. Last year, in the third quarter, lenders initiated foreclosure actions secured by $5.7 billion in financing in the tri-county region. In the third quarter of 2008, lenders filed to foreclose on $4.4 billion in loans, with $3 billion foreclosed upon in the same period of 2007, according to the report, which uses clerk of court records to compile data in the region. "If things continue on the same path, it looks as if 2009 could turn out to be the worst year for foreclosures in South Florida based on total actions initiated, and the overall dollar amount in default," said Peter Zalewski, a principal with the Bal Harbour, Fla.-based real estate consultancy CondoVultures. "The flip side is, the new foreclosure actions being filed by lenders today are for larger average loan amounts. This could be a sign of the exotic loans beginning to reset." Despite the decline, the region remains hard hit, with an average of 150 foreclosures being filed per day during the third quarter. That pace is 42% below foreclosure actions in the year-ago period. Florida has the second highest foreclosure rate in the country, behind only Nevada, according to August figures from data analyzer RealtyTrac. Write to Kerry Curry.