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Florida is First in Foreclosures

Armen Hareyan's picture

Sometimes, being in first place is not a badge of honor. Take Florida, for example, which currently holds the dubious distinction of being first in the nation in foreclosures.

The Palm Beach Post informs us that close to 1 out of every 5 homes loans in Florida was delinquent in payments by 90 days or more, or was somewhere in the process of foreclosure during this last quarter.

The state has almost 3.5 million outstanding loans, and more than 13% are in trouble. This type of economic behavior does not bode well for a recovery. It also indicates that another large group of foreclosed homes is about to crash into the real estate market with a resounding thud.

This somewhat alarming foreclosure statistic is not being helped by Florida’s other problem, an 11.2% unemployment rate. Experts do not expect employment to alleviate before the second quarter of next year, by which time it will have risen, according to projections, to 11.4%.

While Florida’s foreclosure figures seem high, the reality is, according to the Mortgage Banker’s Association, that 1 out of every 7 loans across the nation is in foreclosure. This is an increase from the 1 out of 10 that began the year.

Florida foreclosure rate is closely followed by Nevada, California, and Arizona. These four states are responsible for 43% of the new crop of foreclosures that is due to hit the market.

In addition, foreclosure filings in October of 2009 showed an 11% increase over those from a year earlier, and are up more than 25% on a year to date basis. According to the Boston Globe, it is not subprime loans that are spurring the foreclosure increase; instead, it is rampant unemployment, which stands at a 26 year high nationally.

Nationwide, the rate of joblessness has moved beyond 10% and expected to rise above 11% before it turns around sometime next year.

What is extremely alarming is a report from the Mortgage Banker’s Association that fixed-rate home loans, which were often made to people with excellent credit, are also falling victim to foreclosure. These formerly credit-worthy individuals are succumbing to unemployment. When faced with a choice of feeding a family or paying a mortgage, food always wins out.

What may be even more disturbing is that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which has been holding the housing market together by insuring more than 40% of new home loans, reports that more than 18% of those who hold FHA loans are delinquent by at least 1 payment.

Written by Marc Jablon, Realty Associates / 561 / 213 – 6139
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