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30 percent of homes in South Florida 'seriously underwater'

As the foreclosure crisis in Florida appears to be coming to an end, many homeowners still find themselves in deep financial trouble. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, about 30 percent of homeowners in the area are “seriously underwater” on their mortgages. It is possible that many more people will have to go through foreclosure and the loss of their home before this figure goes down.

RealtyTrac says that nearly 119,000 people in South Florida owe at least 25 percent more on their mortgages than their properties are actually worth. Owning a home that is worth less than the mortgage on it is called being “underwater.” A gap that large is highly significant, and troubling for those in that situation.

Six months ago, the number of homes “seriously underwater” in the region was at 153,600, or 36 percent of all homeowners. Statewide, 31 percent of homes were seriously underwater in the first three months of the year. That is the second-highest rate in the U.S., behind only Nevada.

Owners of most of the underwater homes in Florida either bought their properties from 2004 to 2006, or refinanced during that time period. That, of course, was the time of the housing bubble that burst starting in 2008, causing the foreclosure crisis. Now, years later, it is difficult for owners of underwater homes to sell, unless they are able to bring extra money to the table.

Though the foreclosure rate is dropping, many Florida residents are still facing the loss of their home because of it. They may not realize that they have other options, which an attorney may be able to explain to them.

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “Thousands of South Florida mortgage holder ‘seriously underwater’,” Paul Owers, April 16, 2014

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