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TAMPA — The number of people facing new foreclosures locally and statewide has plummeted recently by more 40 percent by one count, but unfortunately the change seems related to a new law rather than homeowners’ improved fortunes.

RealtyTrac, a real estate marketplace and research firm, on Wednesday said 5,220 Floridians received first-time foreclosure notices in August, down 43 percent from July, when 9,180 people received such notices.

The numbers also fell in the Tampa Bay area, where 1,086 homeowners got hit with such a notice last month, down 25 percent from the 1,452 homeowners hit with foreclosure in July.

RealtyTrac’s numbers differ from the Florida court system’s own foreclosure numbers because of a difference in the way the two parties track first-time foreclosures. The Office of the State Courts Administrator in Tallahassee suggests the number of first-time foreclosure filings in Florida is down even more dramatically.

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