A South Florida reader who frequents posts here has seen one undeniable trend: the local real estate market, for the most part, is as hot as can be right now. Great news all the time, right? That is usually the case, but for many homeowners in the area good news is still something they are waiting for.
According to a recent report, homeowners in South Florida are almost twice as likely to be underwater on their mortgages than the national average. The first quarter data suggested that both the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas saw underwater mortgages in the range of approximately 40 percent. The national average is 19.8 percent.
To pile on the bad news for current homeowners, the May foreclosure rate also apparently spiked this year when compared with last year’s figures. Broward County saw a 112.8 percent leap while Miami-Dade County saw a 78.4 percent jump. That means for all of the good times rolling for many buyers and sellers in the area, there are probably just as many homeowners who are having trouble simply meeting their monthly mortgage payment.
For many homeowners, and not just in South Florida, foreclosure is the ultimate bad news scenario. There is no doubt that the process can be scary. Banks and lenders for the most part are unwilling to be too flexible with the terms of the mortgage plan, even if a borrower can show that they are only in a temporary tight spot financially. When South Florida homeowners starts finding themselves stressing out over delinquent payments, it may be time to consider pursuing a mortgage loan modification to save their property. Foreclosure does not have to be the end result in every tough situation.
Source: The Miami Herald, “South Florida still under a cloud of foreclosures and negative equity,” Martha Brannigan, June 13, 2013