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Foreclosure rate remains high in Florida

Foreclosure and underwater properties continue to be major problems in Florida, compared with the rest of the country. The latest figures show that the state is still lagging behind the rest of the U.S. in recovering from the foreclosure crisis.

According to Jacksonville Business Journal, 3.2 percent of Florida’s housing market was in foreclosure in March. That is more than twice the national average that month, which fell to 1.5 percent.

Meanwhile, 15.1 percent of mortgage borrowers in Florida are considered underwater, meaning they owe more on their mortgage than the property is worth. One-third of borrowers in active foreclosure have a loan-to-value ratio of 150 percent. In other words, they owe 50 percent more to the lender than what their homes are actually worth.

There is some good news. The total number of borrowers underwater in Florida went down by 1.6 million year-over-year. How many of those people were able to keep their homes, and how many ended up getting foreclosed upon or being forced to sell, is not clear from the article.

As the foreclosure rate continues to recede nationwide, too many Florida homeowners continue to struggle with underwater properties or face the frightening prospect of getting kicked out of their homes.

Though it may seem impossible to fight the big banks, homeowners have legal rights. If the lender violated one of these rights, for example through not following proper procedures, the homeowner may be able to use that as leverage to find a way to keep their home, if that is their desire.

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