The past few years have not been kind to homeowners in Florida. Despite declines in national foreclosures, those in Florida remain high. In fact, even after a 30 percent drop in delinquencies, almost 4 percent of home owners in the state are behind on their mortgage payments by 90 days or more. The national rate for delinquencies is 2.6 percent.
You would be remiss for thinking that the world of trying to collecting debt and calling people to inquire about their debt was like the Wild West. It's an understandable thought, given the horror stories that have come out about debt collectors going to absurd -- and illegal -- lengths to collect money from a debtor.
Although recent years have yielded significant improvements in the housing market, the high rate of foreclosures remains a major concern in South Florida and throughout the state. In fact, Florida currently leads the nation in number of foreclosures, with more than 60,000 completed as of this June, according to a CoreLogic report in the South Florida Business Journal.
Most home foreclosures happen because of unforeseen circumstances, such as a medical emergency or job loss. Then there are cases where someone faces the loss of his or her home because of another party’s criminal activities. In a way, this can be even worse, because the victim could have avoided foreclosure had he or she not been ripped off.
The resurgence of house flipping in South Florida could be, ironically, another sign that the worst of the region’s foreclosure crisis is over.
As many of our readers already know, a house that has been abandoned by its owner in the middle of foreclosure is known as a “zombie” property. Because neither the homeowner nor the bank is taking care of the home, it can quickly become unmaintained, driving down the property value of neighboring houses.
For years, the federal government has been supplying funds to states to pass along to homeowners in danger of foreclosure. But critics charge that Florida officials have been inefficient in getting residents the help they need with their mortgages.
Florida homeowners who are struggling financially often try to get ahead of a potential foreclosure by trying to renegotiate the terms of their mortgage. But lenders are not always receptive, especially if the homeowner is seeking a lower interest rate.
A decision by the Third District Court of Appeal of Florida brings the state a step closer to a single legal opinion when it comes to foreclosure and the statute of limitations -- one that favors the banks.
We have been tracking Florida's foreclosure rate for some time in this blog. Generally, the numbers have trended downward over the past year or so, which is the good news. The bad news is, Florida has consistently trailed behind the rest of the U.S. in recovering from the foreclosure crisis.