Unfortunately, the bad news concerning the national housing market continues to flow, as the numbers for the month of May indicate that there was a 9 percent increase in the amount of foreclosure filings from just a month ago.
Many of our readers in South Florida may be familiar with the government program known as the Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP. Under this program, which began in 2009, people who owe more on their homes than the homes are worth can refinance the associated mortgages through a more streamlined, efficient process.
While we have frequently discussed the recent upward trend of the South Florida real estate market, it is important to remember that, while the picture in some cases may be improving, many homeowners are still struggling. Florida was one of the hardest hit states during the housing meltdown, and a full recovery is far from complete.
Recent statistics show that Florida has quite a logjam on its hands due to foreclosure filings. The count includes approximately 44,000 cases in Broward County alone, according to the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
Florida homeowners have been hit particularly hard by the foreclosure crisis. Adding insult to injury in the eyes of some is a new bill some Floridian legislators are seeking to introduce that might allow for non-judicial foreclosures. Critics fear the law will help banks and hurt homeowners, but those sponsoring the bill argue that homeowners benefit from the law.
In an effort to provide relief during the mortgage crisis that has affected so many Florida residents, state and federal officials arrived at an historic $26 billion settlement with five major mortgage servicers. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Ally Financial and Citigroup have all signed on to provide $17 billion in mortgage relief to roughly one million borrowers throughout the nation. The federal government is set to handle $1 billion in relief, while $3 billion will be used to refinance loans for lower interest rates.
South Florida residents may have paid attention lately to the campaigning politicians who came to Florida and addressed, among other things, the troubles of the state's housing market. Struggling homeowners in Broward County and throughout South Florida are looking for ways to prevent foreclosure or complete a real estate sale without losing their nest eggs. However, the debates may have demonstrated a rather large separation between the needs of struggling homeowners and solutions politicians are proposing.
A foreclosure is one of the most intimidating things that a Fort Lauderdale resident can go through. Millions of Americans have gone through foreclosure since the economic downturn in 2008, and many Broward County residents continue to face foreclosure every day. Broward County residents should not approach a foreclosure with a sense of hopelessness, however, because an experienced Florida real estate attorney can help a homeowner fight a foreclosure.
Florida has been hit hard by the housing crisis, as many families continue to struggle to meet their mortgage commitments. Since the nation's mortgage problems are now an undeniable fact, a number of financial companies have made special efforts to work with mortgage holders to helped them through the difficulties of the last few years. Ocwen Financial Corporation's West Palm Beach office is said to be one such company. According to Hope Now, a mortgage industry group, Ocwen has aided thousands of Florida residents through its loan modification program.
Like many other states, Florida has been hit hard by the housing crisis. On a national level, homeownership in the United States, with respect to the third quarter of 2011, is at its second-lowest level in 13 years. As homeowners find it increasingly difficult to make their mortgage payments, many are forced into evictions. And for those looking to buy, tighter credit standards are shutting many of those people down in their tracks.